Videos

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  • When salmon spawn they displace huge numbers of aquatic insects.
  • These insects drift and swim downstream and often settle in pools containing woody debris.
  • These are areas where salmon do not spawn so the insects are not disturbed by their spawning activities.
  • American Dippers know where the insects are so they often forage for them in the debris piles.
  • In winter I have found large numbers of juvenile fish, especially Dolly Varden and coho salmon, concentrated in these piles of woody debris.
  • Why would they do this?
  • Think about camouflage, some studies show the wood provides some warmth, at the bottom of pools so little current, possible spring areas.
  • The value of large woody debris in Alaska's streams is discussed in The value of large woody debris in Alaska's streams by Murphy and Koski
  • In winter these geese feed on the sprouts of Lyngby's Sedge (Carex lyngbyei)
  • Protein and nitrogen requirements of Canada Geese are highest in late winter and spring.
  • Why are the sedge sprouts more nutritious at this time?
  • As the greenery fades in the fall, a good deal of the nutrient value of the sedge moves down to the top of the root stock, where it is available for the initial growth surge in spring.
  • Geese search for and dig out this high-quality food, which provides a good deal of their conditioning for nesting.
  • To learn more about the Mendenhall Wetlands look at Mendenhall Wetlands
  • To learn about Canada Geese look at this essay by Mary Willson.
  • This is probably the most important plant in Alaska's marine wetlands.
  • The plants scientific name is Carex lyngbyei
  • How do you tell a sedge from a grass?
  • Canada Geese and many waterfowl eat its seeds, graze the green stems and roots.
  • In spring they like to nip off the protein-rich new growth that starts under the horny tips that emerge in the fall.
  • Think about the advantage of starting to emerge in fall just before winter.
  • How can you tell if geese and ducks have been feeding on this plant?
  • For more information about this sedge and other wetland plants look at Mendenhall Wetlands
  • To learn about the value of sedges browse Wetland Sedges of Alaska by Gerald Tande & Robert Lipkin
  • This is a shorter version of the video Marmots Love to Play. It includes a sequence in the alpine as well as a den.
  • In Juneau the Hoary Marmot is common along many beach areas as well as in the alpine.
  • They seem to enter the den for hibernation about the same time in late August or early September.
  • But the beach marmots seem to emerge from hibernation around a month or more earlier than the alpine marmots.
  • The group of marmots on the beach probably involves both parents, one youngster from last year (a teenager) and one first year marmot.
  • The one laying down is probably the adult male (dad) because they do not normally take care of the children.
  • I suspect the largest one standing is the adult female (mom).
  • Marmots are considered "true hibernators" to learn more about them look at Chilling Out How Warm-Blooded Animals Survive Southeast Winters by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • Then answer the question how does hibernation benefit marmots?
  • The first part of this video shows a male Anna's Hummingbird at my feeder in Juneau on March 24, 2015 -- I suspect it spent the winter here.
  • My goal is to add a clip showing a Anna's Hummingbird during each month of the winter.
  • Recently Anna's Hummingbirds that come to Southeast Alaska in the fall have been documented spending the winter here.
  • This winter (2015) a couple were known to spend the winter in Juneau and according to Matt Goff some in Sitka also.
  • Some interesting information on this bird can be found in this article http://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/featured-stories/birds/annas-hummingbir...
  • This video shows the Oregon Subspecies of the Dark-eyed Junco
  • This is the subspecies that breeds and winters in Southeast Alaska
  • It is one of our most frequently seen birds all year
  • Only the female builds the nest (in 3-7 days) and incubates the eggs
  • She is the only one with a brood patch
  • What is a brood patch?
  • When the young hatch the male then helps feed them
  • This video shows some of the behavior of Bufflehead ducks during courtship and protection of its mate
  • The following is from Gauthier, Gilles. 2014. Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/067doi:10.2173/bna.67
  • Almost exclusively monogamous, this is one of the few ducks that often keeps the same mate for several years.
  • Head-bobbing is the most common courtship display.
  • The male swims toward a female and starts making a movement in which the head is repeatedly extended upwards and forwards (about 60° to the surface), and then retracted in rapid jerks, with brief pauses in the lowered stance.
  • A characteristic sequence of actions during courtship involves Fly-over and Landing, Head-shake-forwards and Wing-lifting, and small Head-bobbing
  • Fly-over and Landing occur when a male courts a female in the presence of other males.
  • The male makes a short flight over the female with the head held forward and low. At landing, the male is upright and the crest is erected as he “skis” on water with his feet pointing forward, thereby showing his conspicuous black and white upper plumage and bright pink feet.
  • After he settles on the water, the head is thrust forward (Head-shake-forwards), and the wings are raised sharply behind the head (Wing-lifting). Head-bobbing follows.
  • Much of this behavior can be seen in this video.
  • For mating the male mounts the female while firmly gripping her nape feathers.
  • The male flicks his wings once, presumably at the moment of intromission (like most ducks, Buffleheads have a penis).
  • Copulation is brief as the male mounts the female for only 10–15 s.

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