A Call of the Wild Goes Out – Western Coyote and Eastern Wolf
The coywolf is well documented in North Carolina, however, due to its nocturnal habits, it’s seldom observed by the general public.
A Canada Goose Story
The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), with its black head and neck, and characteristic white “chinstrap,” is a magnificent bird and a longtime mainstay of local grounds.
A Fish Tale with a Happy Ending
Discovery Lake felt the effects of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 as winds and rain pelted the area.
A Lizard's Tale, a Lost (P)ART: The Ending to be Told
This is not an old wives’ tail, but actually fact more than fiction. The process of regeneration has fascinated doctors and scientists for decades for the concept might have human application some day. No telling where this research could end.
At first glance, frogs and toads are quite similar in appearance. However, there are some notable differences, including distinct calls, that can help with identification.
And the Peeps Go On. Do You Ever Wonder How?
If Canada geese successfully raise their goslings (available food, water, shelter), the pair will return to that same location the following year. Even the previous year’s goslings will join their parents for a couple of years and assist with caring for the new chicks.
Armadillos, the New Mammal in Town
Armadillos have recently expanded their range into central North Carolina with sightings occurring in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties. Although recognized as the Texas State (small mammal) animal, this species originated in South America and crossed from Mexico into Texas about 150 years ago.
Bats in North Carolina
Think all bats are the same? Think again. There are at least 15 different species of the flying mammal in North Carolina.
Be a Ver-y Good Craftsman, Born to Fell?
Not every individual can say that they were destined to do a particular thing in life. However, this individual was going to be an architectural engineer from the day he was born.
Bears in North Carolina
You should only expect to see Black Bears, not Brown, Polar, Grizzly, or Teddy (unless lost) anywhere in the wilds of North Carolina.
Being Single is "Not for the Birds"! – Canada Geese
This update is for those of you who are still young enough to remember. The White Goose (WG), known around campus and in the local press, as Toulouse, has spent many hours at NIEHS over the course of 4 plus years.
Birds on Campus: Summer Varieties
How many different types of birds do you think might live on the combined NIEHS/EPA RTP campus? As of June 2015, 124 different species of birds had been spotted on campus by a group of NIEHS and EPA birdwatchers.
Building Nuthatch Houses
Audubon North Carolina launched a statewide effort to meet a goal of putting up 10,000 Brown-headed Nuthatch nest boxes during 2014 to help stem this bird’s habit decline, and NIEHSers are doing their part to help meet that goal.
Carpenter Bees, The Buzz Isn't an Electric Drill
Most of us know what a Carpenter Bee looks like - a bumblebee and we leave them alone. They are solitary bees that construct tunnels in wooden structures, unlike the leafcutter and Orchard Mason bees that adopt pre-existing cavities. The problem arises when they choose your property, especially porches and deck rails, in which to place half-inch holes.
Chronic Wasting Disease Positive Deer
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently announced that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected in a sample from a white-tailed deer harvested in Yadkin County, which is just west of Winston-Salem.
Cowbirds Practicing Brood Parasitism on NIEHS Campus
Cowbirds are brood parasites that depend on other bird species for their survival. Cowbird chicks can adversely affect over 200 song birds and other perching birds. Cowbirds can have a detrimental effect on endangered species by pressuring reproduction.
Coyotes in Research Triangle Park, NC
Reports of coyotes on campus in early spring 2015, provided the opportunity to share the story of the Coywolf with employees.
Death Defying High Wire Act
As shocking as it might seem, birds and small mammals can sit on high voltage power lines as long as they don't misstep.
Did One of the Feather Boas Start Shedding?
It was a quiet and sunny day at Discovery Lake Beach and the flock had gathered at the Memorial Garden to preen and socialize.
Do Woodchucks Chuck Wood?
Woodchucks are not uncommon in the area. They are native to North Carolina, and indeed, some currently live on the NEIHS campus. Despite what their name or popular culture might make some assume, woodchucks do not toss, chuck, or throw wood.
Easy Pickin's! Where?
Most animals will take advantage of an easy meal, if the rewards outweigh the effort. Raccoons are crafty creatures who have good dexterity and a reputation of getting into trouble. They will live in your house, even if you don't invite them inside.
Good Snake, Not So Good Reaction
Snakes don’t deserve the reaction they receive from humans. Snakes play a critical role in the food chain. Of the twelve species most often seen in the Piedmont, only one is venomous and it’s not fatal.
Hatches in the Pines
Phase I of “Hatches in the Pines” consists of 12 special built single-family dwellings.
Hibernation is More Than an Afternoon Nap
We will attempt to explain how hibernation differs among animals and determine who participates and who doesn’t. With the unseasonable warm temperatures this December, this story may be subject to modification any day now.
Hopping, Jumping, Peeping, Croaking, and Splashing. It's That Time Again!
Low areas, like our retention basin, often fill with water after a good rainstorm. If this temporal, or short-term, water body remains for weeks, a female frog or toad may deposit egg masses in it. A "traditional" tadpole-in-the-water type life cycle will evolve.
How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck?
Reports of woodchuck (Marmota monax) sightings are not uncommon, but are they for NIEHS? The staff directory doesn’t list any employee or contractor with “chuck” in their last name.
Identity Theft Can Occur Anywhere, Anytime
Reports occur all the time about allegations of identity theft. But why would a goose be targeted?
Is the Robin the First Sign of Spring?
I saw American Robins in Cary last month in the middle of a snowstorm. Does that mean that spring is just around the corner?
Jake the Snake and Friends Visit NIEHS
Four snakes that have been seen at NIEHS are: the black rat snake, the northern water snake, the copperhead, and black racer.
L'Oie Toulouse? Qui, Moi?
WANTED: Information leading to a positive ID.
Large and Beautiful, the Southern Garden Spider
This year has been a very good year for spiders in the wildflower meadows on Lakeview Drive and the Memorial Garden.
Let's Go Down to the Crawdad Hole, Baby
So begins the song "Crawdad Hole" performed by Woody Guthrie, in Muleskinner Blues. This is an old country tune about the tradition of going crawdad hunting for food and bait.
Man’s New Best Friend: The Opossum
There is an unexpected ally in the fight against ticks: the opossum.
Moles, Voles, and Shrews - Do You Know the Differences?
If you garden, then you may have experienced the feeling of having moles or voles underfoot, even during winter months. These critters are very common in North Carolina, and they enjoy a good landscape with lots of flora and fauna as much as we do.
Myrtle the Turtle Lays Eggs
Could this be another case of turtle egg drop?
Myrtle’s Nest-egg Contributions Grow at NIEHS
Myrtle the Turtle emerged onto the public stage back on June 13, 2014 when she bravely traveled nearly 840 feet from Discovery Lake, across campus to deposit her clutch of eggs near the South Park parking lot.
NIEHS' Pat the Rat: The Tail of a Cotton Rat
There have been numerous sightings of rats along the walkway between the south parking lot and A module.
Oh Deer, Have You Herd?
We asked the local white-tailed deer to speak on the record but they declined an interview.
Our Boxed-in Friends Could Use Our Help
When you look around outside, do you wonder just how extreme our actions are on our surroundings? Well, many of those plants and animals do and show it.
Please Step Forward and Identify Yourself?
On a peaceful summer day in 2018 a new bird was observed on Discovery Lake.
Possible Pigeon Peril Averted
Although pigeons are not very popular among many, they are a rather interesting bird. Being related to the now extinct dodo, pigeons may have been the first domesticated bird.
Rocky vs. Tweety: A True Survival Story
One blustery morning in December, I received an email from Erin Knight of the NIEHS Library, alerting me that she’d just witnessed a gray squirrel feasting on the feathered remains of a bird.
Seriously? "Knock on Wood?"
“Knock on Wood.” How many times have you heard that sound or saying? Humans knock on something wooden to assure continued good luck. Perhaps it has extra meaning if you happen to be an avian head-banger and want to insure continuous good luck for “more is always better”.
Snakes Alive, Mercy Me! How Do You ID Them?
As the weather fluctuates between warm and cool, our reptiles and amphibian will use the warmth to emerge from their winter hiding places.
Snapping Turtles in RTP
Recently, members of the Health and Safety Branch (HSB) spotted an alligator snapping turtle in Discovery Lake near the Memorial Garden.
The Dawn of New Lawn Fawns
As you may recall, white-tailed deer were in rut last fall (mid-October into November). This period marked the start of a new beginning. Now with May already here, the end of the deer’s gestational period has come.
They Seem to Be Everywhere, What Mite They Be?
Each spring, very small, bright red “bugs” were observed crawling on the campus concrete patio walls and planters. They seemed to like the sunshine as they run between the embedded pebbles. We’d seen them for many years, but never had a conclusive identification. Initially thought to be Clover mites, web searches revealed that they might be Concrete/Sidewalk Mites (Balaustium sp), which looked similar to the Clover Mite (Bryobia praetiosa).
Well, That’s Just Ducky!
Some ducks nest on the ground, but others require natural or man-made cavities. Cavity ducks don’t carry material to form a nest, it needs to be present already.
Where Do We Go From Here? Time to Settle Down? Toulouse, the White Goose, Has a New Friend.
After years of observation, here’s what’s happened in NIEHS’s Canada Goose population. Could 2018 be the year that Toulouse finds that special companion?
Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? Some Fly-By-Nighter?
Bluebirds and nuthatches aren’t the only animals to take advantage of our bird houses. Southern flying squirrels, part of our seldom seen campus wildlife, can sometimes be found in campus bird houses.
Why Are Bluebirds Blue?
Did you know that NIEHS has a long history of bluebirds on campus? Grant Nichols, a laboratory employee and avid Durham birder/photographer, started putting up bluebird nest boxes up on the NIEHS campus in 1972.
Why Do Birds Attack Windows?
Did you know that almost a billion birds are killed by window plate glass yearly?
Why Do Birds Stand on One Leg?
Have you seen geese standing by the water on one leg? You would think there must be a good reason for standing on one leg, because it requires balance and could put a lot of stress on a single appendage.
Why Do Hummingbirds Hum?
People seem to have a warm spot in their hearts when it comes to hummingbirds. Even veteran bird watchers get excited upon seeing a new visitor. Hummingbirds get their name from the humming sound produced by their wings beating at 70 beats/sec when flying, and they also chirp.
Why Don’t Birds' Feet and Legs Get Frostbite?
Are the reasons known? Our NIEHS reporters and researchers, when faced with this question, scrambled to find out. The Gurus hit the books and Internet, while other employees were dispatched into the field to get the latest poop*.
You Sure We're in the Right Line? – Turkeys in NC Counties
Turkeys have dispersed into all 100 North Carolina counties and across 49 states.
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