Male greater sage-grouse displays air sacs to attract a female hen. Photo credit: USFWS
ANIMALS WIN VALENTINE’S DAY
Yes, Valentine’s Day is over, but these romantic animals continue to deliver with their dance moves, gifts and dedication. Best dance moves go to the male greater sage-grouse. To attract the ladies (hens) the male greater sage-grouse strut, fan their tail feathers and swell their breasts to reveal bright yellow air sacs. The combination of wing movements and inflating and deflating air sacs make an utterly unique “swish-swish-coo-oopoink!” Learn more about the greater sage-grouse and other species that depend on the sagebrush ecosystem here.
The Downy woodpecker is North America’s smallest woodpecker and a winter bird you may see on your Great Backyard Bird Count. Photo credit: Jesus Moreno
GET OUTDOORS WITH THE GREAT BACKYARD
Looking for something to do this weekend? The 21st edition of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) starts today and runs until Monday, February 19th, all around the country, and in a backyard near you! This is a great opportunity to spend time outdoors with friends and family and see some birds. More than 200,000 people participated last year and is a great introduction to citizen science.
To participate, count birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count in your backyard, in a local park, or national wildlife refuge. Enter your checklists at birdcount.org. Read more about the GBBC and six common winter birds you’ll likely see here.
Did You Know?
The black-footed ferret has a distinctive green eye-shine at night.
This is one way biologists can track and count ferrets during night population surveys! Learn more about America’s rarest mammal and watch live ferret footage: http://bit.ly/2jyOf1c
Photo: Black-footed ferret with green eye-shine / USFWS