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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Ouzelum bird, also known as oozlem, ooozle-finch, or pinnacle grouse.

Range: Various subspecies of the ouzelum bird are found in isolated pockets throughout the United States, South America, Australia and the British Isles.

Physical Description: The most notable characteristic of the ouzelum bird is its ability to fly backwards. Some people say that it does so because it wishes to admire its own tail, but a more likely explanation is that it favors backwards flight as this allows it to see where it’s been rather than where it is going. Ouzelum birds are members of the blackbird family (turdus merula) and often resemble the blackbirds of the area in which they dwell, a variant seen as a protective adaptation.

Characteristics: As well as flying backwards, startled ouzelum birds have been observed to fly in ever-tightening, ever ascending circles, flying so high they go above the clouds and vanish from sight.

Co-endangered species: Imperial woodpecker, tri-colored blackbird.

Recent sightings: The average ouzelum bird may spend no more than a few minutes of its day flying backwards, so is often mistaken for a species of non-Imaginary blackbird when flying forward. However, a sighting of a bird flying backwards is reported every few years, and ouzelum birds may be more common than previously believed.

What to do: If you see an ouzelum bird flying backwards, try to get a photo of the event. If you encounter an ouzelum flying in circles, remain quiet and calm so as not to add to the bird’s agitation.


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