Deer Tick, a Questing Bloodsucker

In California, the Western gray squirrel is known to harbor the bacterium –Borrelia burgdorferi– that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks pick this up during their first or second blood meal. Lizards – Western Lyme Heros   While in the larva or nymph stage, ticks frequently find lizard hosts.  A protein in lizard blood kills the Lyme disease causing bacteria.   Lizards …

Bat – a Colonial Insectivore

Bats are the only flying mammals. Wing membranes are attached to their fingers. After rodents, they are the largest order of Earth animals.  Microbats live in California. they are insectivores and can eat their weight in insects daily. (Large bats, such as the Fruit Bat, also known as a Flying Fox, live in tropical climates.) Roost/Colony: Roosts, which can contain …

Owls of Nevada County

On silent wings these nocturnal hunters take prey by surprise. The only time you’ll hear an owl is if it’s hooting – calling to a mate, declaring territory of checking on young. They range in size from the tiny six-inch Northern Pygmy-Owl to the twenty-six-inch Great Grey Owl. Inviting them into your space (if you don’t have chickens or other …

2019 Nevada County Holiday Giving-Guide with a Land Stewardship Focus

Support organizations that preserve, protect, clean, heal, and educate about our local habitats. Buy a holiday gift, spend outdoor quality time with family and friends and keep Nevada County healthy. Visit the websites of the organizations below to; make a gift for operating expenses in someone’s name buy film festival tickets attend lectures take family and friends hiking volunteer to …

Crayfish – Aquatic Groundskeepers

Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans related to shrimp, lobster, and crabs. They’re all decapods—having ten legs. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the native range for the Signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) is the Columbia River’s lower estuary. The range goes northwest and through tributaries that reach into British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Historical records say crayfish were first introduced to …

Rabbits & Hares – Chickens of the Predator World

Lagomorphs include hares, rabbits, and pikas. For this post, we’re concentrating on the first two, commonly seen in Nevada County. Hares and rabbits are fast-food for predators; coyote, fox, badgers, bobcat, hawks, owls, snakes, mountain lion, and squirrels. Dogs, cats, and humans hunt them too. If you’re a top item on the predator menu, you develop and learn survival skills. …

Einstein Corvidae – Crows & Ravens

    Smart birds—crows, and ravens are part of the Corvid family. This group of perching birds includes blue jays, magpies, and nutcrackers. In Old Norse and English cultures, a dark-haired person who steals is referred to as a ‘raven.’ Native Americans associated the raven with prophecy and an omen of loss. Smart Bird Intelligence Corvid Commonalities As adaptable as …

Ladybugs Wind Sail into the Hills

Ladybugs are members of the Coccinellidae family. The Latin translation means ‘scarlet.’ In the US, they’re called Ladybugs. In Europe, they’re Ladybirds. Legend (or internet rumor) says in the middle ages in Europe, farmers prayed to Mother Mary to save blighted crops. Prayers must have been made in spring because Ladybugs came along to save the day.  In this case, …

Woodpeckers – Drumming Hoarders

The Picidae bird family is adapted to tree life. It lives in oak and pine woodland forests. Toe arrangement is ideal for bark gripping, beaks are styled for pecking, long, sticky tongues are good for catching wood-boring insects, and skull size and orientation prevent brain impact injuries. Picidae species include; woodpeckers, the northern flicker, and sapsuckers. This article focuses on …

Four-Eyed Banana Slug Wields Six-Fold Slime

The Ariolimax genus for the Pacific Banana Slug means “air slug.” It is a shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusk and is the world’s second largest slug species.  Its lifespan is between one to seven years. Like the Pill Bug, much of a slug’s activities focus on water retention. Banana slugs keep to damp places under logs, inside tree bark, around rocks …