Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spotted pardalote

Sorry forgot to post yesterday. Stuart and I went out of town to a wildlife park near Peoria called Wildlife Prarie Park. It is a nice park it features a lot of animals they wished were still native in Illinois and a few that still are. The enclosures were huge and well forested for the most part and most of the animals were rehab cases that could not be released back into the wild. They had an entire pack of wolves which we got to hear howl all together for about 5 to 10 minutes. They also had a massagua rattlesnake which I often think of a quasi-mythical, they are supposed to be native to this area but are so endangered you would never see one. I tried to get a few pictures but only managed to get clear ones of the copperhead and the bobcats.

Not sure what is going on today
work on the sphinx

The spotted pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) is one of the smallest birds in southern Australia. They tend to spend most of their time hidden among the eucalyptus. When they nest they tend to do so in burrows, but can get creative with their definition of a burrow. They have also been found nesting in rolled carpets, closed garage door, and the crevices of buildings. Studying their nest had been traditionally very difficult recently Christopher Boland and Robert Phillips developed a method to build an inexpensive burrowscope which can be made for around $400 and they have had a lot of luck with it. Here is a link to the the paper the device is featured in the paper is unfortunately not free but there is a free picture of the device and a complete materials list at the bottom. It strikes me as a neat thing for biologists and perhaps biology teachers.

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