Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Philamaloo Bird, also known as Fulica stultusregrediens, phillyloo bird, filla-ma-loo, flu-fly bird, goofus bird.

Range: Found in isolated pockets throughout the United States, it favors open range country and drylands, as it is prone to rheumatism.

Physical Description: The philamaloo is a nondescript little brown bird, easy to confuse with any number of other little brown birds that populate open range and dryland country. Its most notable characteristic is the ability to fly upside-down. Along with its rheumatism, the philamaloo is said to be prone to belly-aches. After a large feeding, it often assumes an inverted position, while resting or flying, which helps alleviate indigestion. (The philamaloo pictured in this photograph is shown resting upside-down.)

Characteristics: The nest of the philamaloo is built with the entrance very near the bottom, so that it is easier for the bird to launch itself into an inverted flight position when it wishes to fly upside-down.

Co-endangered species: Black-capped vireo, golden-cheeked warbler.

Recent sightings: As the average philamaloo spends no more than 5% of its time flying or hanging upside-down, it is often mistaken for another species when upright. However, sightings of a bird flying upside-down are generally reported several times annually, and philamaloos may be more common than previously believed.

What to do: If you see a philamaloo flying upside-down, try to get a photo of the event. If you encounter a philamaloo nest, piling soft materials under the nest can be helpful in the event one of the fledglings falls out of the low doorway into the nest.


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.