Preparing for Winter

Sockeye salmon are a vital food source for Alaska’s brown bears. In one study, a single Kodiak Island bear consumed more than two tons of salmon in a summer–up to 30 fish a day. Each sockeye offers about 4,000 calories that will help the bear make it through the long winter. The seagulls hang around … Continue reading “Preparing for Winter”

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Lord of the Flats

Lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris, inhabit many bonefish flats, and many a wading angler has held their breath at the sight of a dorsal fin headed right for them. However, these sharks are not normally aggressive toward humans: There has never been a human fatality attributed to a lemon shark, and most bites occur when a … Continue reading “Lord of the Flats”

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Tasmanian Spines

The short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) is a mammal native to Australia and New Guinea–this one was filmed in Tasmania–and like the platypus, it lays eggs. Echidnas have very short, strong limbs with large claws, and are powerful diggers. Their claws on their hind limbs are elongated and curved backward to help aid in digging. If … Continue reading “Tasmanian Spines”

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Salmon Rain

The Coast Mountains of British Columbia force moisture-laden air coming across the Pacific Ocean to rise, resulting in heavy rainfalls along the western slopes. Rising rivers trigger the spawning urges in Pacific salmon, which migrate out of salt water and estuaries, up increasingly small rivers, to their natal spawning grounds. Anglers who cast for these … Continue reading “Salmon Rain”

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Slow Crawl

Throughout the Rocky Mountains, many anglers refer to any very large mayfly–such as this one from British Columbia–as a “drake.” These big bugs offer a high-calorie meal that will draw even trophy-size trout to the surface during a hatch. Anglers also love these mayflies because the patterns that imitate them are easy to see on … Continue reading “Slow Crawl”

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Little Drummer Boy

Male ruffed grouse “drum” in springtime as a way to establish territory and to attract females. Although it looks as if the sound is caused by the bird’s wings hitting its chest, the sound actually comes from small sonic booms. The wings beat up to 5 times per second, causing the sound waves to stack … Continue reading “Little Drummer Boy”

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Brown-Bear Pool Party

The Copper River flows into Lake Iliamna from the south, through a beautiful valley lined with cottonwoods, spruce, and birches. Famous among anglers for its trophy rainbow trout, the river hosts an annual run of hundreds of thousands of sockeye salmon, which bring the bears and the seagulls to the river. Without these salmon, the … Continue reading “Brown-Bear Pool Party”

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Gnawing in the Sun

Chewing in curiosity-seeking puppies and young dogs is normal; exploration and learning happens through the mouth and the nose. Like human babies, puppies also chew during teething, maybe to facilitate the eruption of adult teeth, maybe for pain relief. And juvvies use playful, active chewing to displace energy—in some dogs, It keeps the jaws strong … Continue reading “Gnawing in the Sun”

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Cooling Off at Lunch

It is quite common to see a moose standing up to its shoulders in water, especially in summertime. Moose feed on many aquatic plants, and they are excellent swimmers. The water also helps to cool the moose on hot days and keeps the insects at bay. Moose are the only deer that are capable of … Continue reading “Cooling Off at Lunch”

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