Sunday, June 24, 2012

True Nature Facts

(Copyright 2012, Dee Fairbanks Simpson, originally published in SCAS Limpkin)

In the course of editing this newsletter, I have accumulated many amazing nature facts. I will now share with you a few of my favorites:

  • Despite their massive (over 15 inch) beaks, Great Blue Herons only have 4 teeth! Because their teeth are close together, Great Blues can often be seen "flossing" with sea grass.
  • Although John James Audubon is well known today for his bird art, in his own time, he was better known for his tex-mex chili recipe, for which he was world renowned.
  • 26% of all lima bean crops are lost to swamp sparrows.
  • Snowy Egrets can have up to 19 birds in each brood, and are known to mate as often as 3 times per year.
  • Scrub Jays are born solid white; they turn blue because of their diet, which consists exclusively of blueberry flavored popcicles.
  • Manatees have very small legs which they can use to walk on land for brief periods of time, usually at night.
  • Hummingbirds can carry over 50,000 times their own body weight.
  • In the state of Florida, at least three human babies per year are carried away by birds of prey. In most cases, the babies are raised as part of the bird's brood, although despite the birds' best efforts, they generally do not make it past the fledgling stage.
  • 98% of all Painted Buntings are color blind, and thus don't know they are pretty.
  • When drumming, Pileated Woodpeckers strike at a rate of over 30 times per second, with a force of 800 psi.
  • Least Terns can dive to depths of up to 1500 meters.
  • Indigo snakes are carnivores, but only eat vegetarians.
  • Robins and Flamingos can cross breed, but the resulting offspring are not able to breed; not because they are sterile, but because they are really ugly and can't get dates.
  • The call of a Prairie Warbler can be heard for more than 50 miles.
  • Turkey Vultures have two sets of wings, the outer set is used for take offs, the inner set is used for landings.
  • A single butterfly can consume 5 pounds of raw hamburger in just one day.

Editors Note: I am not sure if I remembered all these facts correctly, to be honest I was in a hurry when I wrote this article, and I had to put this article together at the last minute because I needed something to fill space in the newsletter. I am extremely lucky to have one regular, dependable columnist (the wonderful Dave Freeland) but alas, he cannot completely fill every issue for us. Unfortunately, this article is the type of quality you can continue to expect if I don't start getting some submissions for the newsletter for the next volume. However, if you have noticed any errors in this article, please feel free to write an article of your own which I will be happy to print in the Limpkin when we resume publication in September. Send all submissions to the SCAS post box.

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