Monday, December 31, 2012

Bluebird (Sialia)



Photo: Eastern bluebird
Eastern bluebirds are known for their vibrant coloring and sweet songs.
Photograph by Richard Day/Animals Animals—Earth Scenes
There are three species of these colorful North American birds. Eastern and western bluebirds have a reddish brown breast, which contrasts with their predominately blue plumage. Their relative, the (male) mountain bluebird is entirely blue.
Eastern bluebirds are primarily found east of the Rockies, and range from Canada to Mexico and Honduras. They are much admired for their lovely coloring and for a distinctive song that many hear as "chur-lee, chur-lee." The eastern bluebird is the state bird of both New York and Missouri.
Read full here...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper Penguin

Eudyptes chrysocome

Photo: Close-up of a penguin.
These gregarious marine birds are among the world's smallest penguins, standing about 20 inches (50 centimeters) tall.
Photograph by Michel Gunther, Photolibrary
Rockhopper penguins are distinguished by the irreverent crest of spiky yellow and black feathers that adorns their head.
Biologists left little ambiguity about this species’ preferred habitat when assigning its name. Rockhoppers are found bounding—rather than waddling, as most other penguins do—among the craggy, windswept shorelines of the islands north of Antarctica, from Chile to New Zealand.
Read full here....

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

Photo: A great horned owl thrashing its wings
The most common owl in North and South America, the great horned owl has adapted to a wide variety of habitats and climates.
Photograph by Joel Sartore
Read full here...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bird of Paradise (Paradisaeidae)

Bird of Paradise


Photo: Ribbon-tailed bird of paradise on a branch
Divas of the avian world, elaborately feathered birds of paradise, like this ribbon-tailed species, practice elaborate courtship rituals.
Photograph by Robert Sisson

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ring-Necked Pheasant

Ring-Necked Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus

Photo: A ring-necked pheasant warily crosses a gravel road
More commonly found on the ground, ring-necked pheasants can take rapidly to the air when startled.
Photograph by George F. Mobley

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Greater Rhea: Largest bird in South America

Greater Rhea

Rhea americana

Photo: Greater rhea
As the largest bird in South America, the flightless greater rhea stands at about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.
Photograph by Nicole Duplaix

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Icterus galbula

Photo: Baltimore oriole nesting in wild
The distinctly colored Baltimore oriole builds a hanging nest for its four or so eggs.
Photograph by George Grall
The Baltimore oriole is Maryland's official state bird.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Photo: A juvenile red-tailed hawk prepares to land
The most common hawk in North America, red-tails can often be seen atop utility poles and other lofty perches, on the lookout for potential prey.
Photograph by Rich Reid

Monday, September 24, 2012

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)



  • Etiology

Foot-and-mouth disease virus, an aphthovirus

  • Epidemiology

Affects  ruminants  and pigs.  Highly contagious, usually  low mortality  but  great economic impact worldwide

  • Pathogenesis

Inha lation/ingestion----> oropharyngeal  infection----> viremia----> epidermal  cells-----> signs  and  lesions enhanced by mechanical  trauma

  • Clinical signs

Fever,  profuse  salivation, vesicles in mouth  and feet, sudden  death
in young animals

  • Clinical pathology/diagnostic confirmation

Virus  isolation,  serology and  RT-PCR detection. Typing confirmed  in a  reference  laboratory

  • Lesions

Vesicular, erosive/ulcerative stomatitis and esophagitis, vesicular/ulcerative dermatitis (feet and teats) and in neonates, interstitial mononuclear and necrotic myocarditis

  • Differential  diagnostic list 

  1. Vesicular stomatitis 
  2. Vesicular exanthema 
  3. Swine vesicular disease 
  4. Rinderpest 
  5. Bovine viral  diarrhea 

  • Treatment.

None except symptomatically. 

  • Control

Mass vaccination with  killed vaccines  in  endemic areas, eradication by slaughter when  feasible, and strict quarantine during outbreaks

Read full in book:

A textbook of the diseases of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goats 
O. M.  Radostits 
K. W.  Hinchcliff 
P. D. Constable 

With  contributions by
S. H.  Done 
D.  E.  Jacobs 
B.  O.  Ikede 
R.  A.  McKenzie 
D.  Colwell 
G. Osweiler 
R.  J.  Bildfell 
Page # 1223

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo

Phoenicopterus ruber

Photo: Greater flamingos
Plastic versions notwithstanding, the vibrant pink greater flamingo is found throughout the world in warm, waterside regions.
Photograph by Michael Nichols

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Red-Footed Booby

Red-Footed Booby

Sula sula

Photo: A red-footed booby on a tree branch
Smallest of the boobies, the red-foot feeds at sea, nests on the ground, and perches in coastal trees.
Photograph by Tim Laman

Friday, September 14, 2012

Great Egret

Great Egret

Ardea alba

Photo: An adult great egret with its young
Both great white egret parents raise their young, although sibling rivalry in the nest can results in death for some chicks.
Photograph by Tim Laman

Monday, September 10, 2012

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

Fratercula arctica

Photo: Atlantic puffin
Atlantic puffins spend most of their lives at sea, but return to land to form breeding colonies during spring and summer.
Photograph by Roy Toft

Sunday, September 9, 2012



Corvus corax (Northern Raven)

Photo: A male raven preens in the warm spring sunshine
Object of myth and poetry, the common raven is an intelligent bird of prey.
Photograph by Michael S. Quinton

Friday, September 7, 2012

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Photo: Great blue heron wading on long, thin legs
Wading on its long, thin legs, a great blue heron scouts for prey.
Photograph courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How to distinguish good meats from bad meats

Healthy meat consumption 101 - How to distinguish good meats from bad meats

(NaturalNews) Vegetarians who personally avoid eating meat for health reasons will sometimes suggest to their friends that, in general, eating meat is harmful to health. But the all-encompassing term "meat" is a misnomer, as there are many different kinds of meat that a person can eat -- conventional, feedlot-based meats; organic, grass-fed meats; and everything in between -- and some meats are actually healthy, while others are not.

Most of the meat sold in the meat section at your local grocery store, whether it is beef, chicken, pork, or fish, comes from animals that have been raised in an industrial environment, and fed artificial foodstuffs that would not otherwise have been a part of their natural diet. Conventional beef, for instance, typically comes from cows raised in confinement, that have no access to pasture, and that are fed an unhealthy diet comprised of genetically-modified (GM) corn and soy byproducts during the final stages of their lives.

Throughout their lives, these same conventional cows are often pumped up with artificial growth hormones, including antibiotics that help them develop faster and preliminarily avoid the diseases they would otherwise not develop if they were raised in an unconfined environment. Because their living environments are routinely infested with feces and filth, conventional cows are much more susceptible to disease than, say, pasture-raised cows.

Unnatural diets destroy animal health, quality of meat

Cows are ruminant animals, which means they are meant to eat grass, not corn and soy. When cows eat the latter, their digestive systems largely reject it, making them more prone to developing chronic illness. The term "feedlot bloat" refers to the digestive disordercharacterized by the unnatural development of foam in the rumen -- the rumen is the first compartment of a cow's stomach -- that is a result of eating unnatural feed.

Corn and soy byproducts, in other words, so disrupt cows' digestive systems that the poor animals develop a severe inability to breathe, and sometimes even die. High-grain diets are disastrous for ruminant animals like cows, and yet it has become common practice in today's industrial food system to feed cows high amounts of grains in the last few months prior to their slaughter.

The situation is much the same for chickens and pigs, which are typically held and confinement and fed an unnatural diet that changes the composition of their meat. Even fish meat, much of which is now "farm-raised," comes from fish that are not allowed to feed and develop naturally, which results in a significant compositional change in the quality of their meat.

Choose meat from wild, grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic, unconfined, non-grain-fed animals

The end result of such atrocious animal husbandry practices is that the final meat product is filled with antibiotics, hormones, and various other toxins, as well as imbalanced fat profiles that promote chronic illness and obesity. Industrial meat, in other words, is a serious threat to human health, and humanity would do well to take a more proactive approach in avoiding conventional meats for their own well-being.

So what about things like grass-fed beef? Or pasture-raised chicken and eggs? Or wild salmon? These healthy meats often get lumped in with the unhealthy meats into a single category known as "meat," which is both confusing and inaccurate. It turns out that animals raised in their natural environments, whether that be pasture for cows and chickens or streams and oceans for fish, produce meat that is rich in essential nutrients, healthy fats, amino acids, and high quality proteins.

A simple rule of thumb is to avoid meat from animals that were fed GMO feed, and that were raised in confinement, and instead choose grass-fed, pasture-raised meat from organically-tended animals.

To learn more about the benefits of grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, visit:

Sources for this article include:

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Arctic Skua

Arctic Skua

Stercorarius parasiticus

Photo: An arctic skua
Arctic skuas, also called parasitic jaegers, have a well-earned reputation as avian pirates, stealing much of their food from other birds.
Photograph by Paul Nicklen

Friday, August 31, 2012



Pharomachrus mocinno
Photo: Male resplendent quetzal
Sacred to ancient Mesoamerican people, gorgeously plumed quetzals live in the mountains of Central America.
Photograph by Steve Winter

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Photo: Golden eagle with a mountain backdrop
The national bird of Mexico, golden eagles are North America's largest raptor.
Photograph by Joe McDonald/Animals Animals—Earth Scenes

Friday, August 10, 2012

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

Photo: Peregrine falcon
Once an endangered species in the United States, North American peregrine falcon populations have made a great comeback due to bans on usage of DDT and similar pesticides.
Photograph by Michael Melford

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Andean Condor

Andean Condor

Vultur gryphus

Photo: Captive Andean condor
Producing only one chick every other year, survival of the endangered Andean condor relies on captive breeding programs.
Photograph by Anne Keiser


Map: Andean condor range
Andean Condor Range

Fast Facts

Body, 4 ft (1.2 m); wingspan, up to 10.5 ft (3.2 m)
Up to 33 lbs (15 kg)
Protection status:
Did you know?
The Andean condor has the largest wing area of any bird.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Andean condor compared with adult man
Andean condors are massive birds, among the largest in the world that are able to fly. Because they are so heavy (up to 33 pounds/15 kilograms), even their enormous 10-foot (3-meter) wingspan needs some help to keep them aloft. For that reason, these birds prefer to live in windy areas where they can glide on air currents with little effort. Andean condors are found in mountainous regions, as their name suggests, but also live near coasts replete with ocean breezes and even deserts that feature strong thermal air currents.
These condors are mostly black, but males have a distinctive white "collar" around their necks and some white markings on their wings as well. Like their relatives, the California condors, Andean condors have bald heads.
Condors are vultures, so they keep their sharp eyes peeled for the carrion that makes up most of their diet. They prefer to feast on large animals, wild or domestic, and in picking the carcasses, they perform an important function as a natural clean-up crew. Along the coasts, condors will feed on dead marine animals like seals or fish. These birds do not have sharp predator's claws, but they will raid birds' nests for eggs or even young hatchlings.
These long-lived birds have survived over 75 years in captivity, but they reproduce slowly. A mating pair produces only a single offspring every other year, and both parents must care for their young for a full year.
The Andean condor is considered endangered but is in far better shape than its California cousin. Perhaps a few thousand South American birds survive, and reintroduction programs are working to supplement that number.

Monday, August 6, 2012

GMOs bad effects on animals

GMOs cause animals to lose their ability to reproduce, Russian scientists discover

(NaturalNews) A study presented at the Days of Defense Against Environmental Hazards in Russia has unveiled once again the implicit dangers associated with the consumption of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). According to Voice of Russia, scientists from the National Association for Gene Security and the Institute of Ecological and Evolutional Problems discovered that animals fed GMOs as part of their normal diet eventually develop the inability to reproduce.

A shocking revelation; the study is one of several that has identified a link between GMO consumption and infertility in recent years. And because it was conducted independently of the biotechnology industry, it came to far different conclusions than have most of the studies offered up for mainstream consumption in defense of GMOs.

Using hamsters as the test subjects, scientists observed that consumption of GM soybeans, which have never been a part of these creatures' normal diets, tended to slow sexual maturity and gradually eliminate the ability to reproduce. After several generations, hamsters consuming the "Frankensoy" eventually lost their innate ability to reproduce.

"We selected several groups of hamsters, kept them in pairs in cells and gave them ordinary food as always," said Dr. Alexei Surov, one of the authors of the study. "We did not add anything for one group but the other was fed with soya that contained no GM components, while the third group with some content of Genetically Modified Organisms and the fourth one with increased amount of GMO."

Dr. Surov and his team then monitored the various groups of cubs, including their rates of growth and birthing frequencies, and compared their findings to the cubs' diets. After several generations of cubs breeding with each other, the team observed that those cubs who ate GMOs as part of their diet eventually became completely sterile.

"[W]e noticed quite a serious effect when we selected new pairs from [the] cubs and continued to feed them as before," added Dr. Surov. "These pairs' growth rate was slower and reached their sexual maturity slowly. When we got some of their cubs, we formed the new pairs of the third generation. We failed to get cubs from these pairs, which were fed with GM foodstuffs. It was proved that these pairs lost their ability to give birth to their cubs."

Will widespread GMO consumption make future generations of humans infertile?

An Austrian study uncovered similar harm in mice that consumed GM corn. An immediate consequence among the mice eating the "Frankencorn" was that their offspring weighed less than normal, and overall litter size became smaller. After three or four generations, mice who came from GMO-eating parents and grandparents became completely infertile. (

Farmers across the U.S. have also reported infertility among pigs and cows that consume GM feed. And in India, an investigatory team observed infertility and other serious problems among buffalo that were consuming GM cottonseed.

Sources for this article include:

Learn more:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin

Pygoscelis papua

Photo: Penguins diving in water
An adult gentoo penguin makes as many as 450 dives a day foraging for food.
Photograph by Robert Heil, My Shot


Map: Gentoo penguin range
Gentoo Penguin Range

Fast Facts

Average life span in the wild:
15 to 20 years
30 in (76 cm)
12 lbs (5.5 kg)
Group name:
Protection status:
Did you know?
An adult gentoo penguin makes as many as 450 dives a day foraging for food.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Penguin compared with adult man
With flamboyant red-orange beaks, white-feather caps, and peach-colored feet, gentoo penguins stand out against their drab, rock-strewn Antarctic habitat.
These charismatic waddlers, who populate the Antarctic Peninsula and numerous islands around the frozen continent, are the penguin world’s third largest members, reaching a height of 30 inches (76 centimeters) and a weight of 12 pounds (5.5 kilograms).
Gentoos are partial to ice-free areas, including coastal plains, sheltered valleys, and cliffs. They gather in colonies of breeding pairs that can number from a few dozen to many thousands.
Gentoo parents, which often form long-lasting bonds, are highly nurturing. At breeding time, both parents will work to build a circular nest of stones, grass, moss, and feathers. The mother then deposits two spherical, white eggs, which both parents take turns incubating for more than a month. Hatchlings remain in the nest for up to a month, and the parents alternate foraging and brooding duties.
Like all penguins, gentoos are awkward on land. But they’re pure grace underwater. They have streamlined bodies and strong, paddle-shaped flippers that propel them up to 22 miles an hour (36 kilometers an hour), faster than any other diving bird.
Adults spend the entire day hunting, usually close to shore, but occasionally ranging as far as 16 miles (26 kilometers) out. When pursuing prey, which includes fish, squid, and krill, they can remain below for up to seven minutes and dive as deep as 655 feet (200 meters).
Gentoo penguins are a favored menu item of the leopard seals, sea lions, and orcas that patrol the waters around their colonies. On land, adults have no natural predators other than humans, who harvest them for their oil and skin. Gentoo eggs and chicks, however, are vulnerable to birds of prey, like skuas and caracaras.
Gentoo numbers are increasing on the Antarctic Peninsula but have plummeted in some of their island enclaves, possibly due to local pollution or disrupted fisheries. They are protected by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and received near threatened status on the IUCN Red List in 2007.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

Photo: Peregrine falcon
Once an endangered species in the United States, North American peregrine falcon populations have made a great comeback due to bans on usage of DDT and similar pesticides.
Photograph by Michael Melford


Map: Falcon range
Peregrine Falcon Range


Fast Facts

Average life span in the wild:
Up to 17 years
Body, 14 to 19 in (36 to 49 cm); wingspan, 3.3 to 3.6 ft (1 to 1.1 m)
18.8 to 56.5 oz (530 to 1,600 g)
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Falcon compared with adult man
These falcons are formidable hunters that prey on other birds (and bats) in mid-flight. Peregrines hunt from above and, after sighting their prey, drop into a steep, swift dive that can top 200 miles an hour (320 kilometers an hour).
Peregrine falcons are among the world's most common birds of prey and live on all continents except Antarctica. They prefer wide-open spaces, and thrive near coasts where shorebirds are common, but they can be found everywhere from tundra to deserts. Peregrines are even known to live on bridges and skyscrapers in major cities.
These birds may travel widely outside the nesting season—their name means "wanderer." Though some individuals are permanent residents, many migrate. Those that nest on Arctic tundra and winter in South America fly as many as 15,500 miles (25,000 kilometers) in a year. Yet they have an incredible homing instinct that leads them back to favored aeries. Some nesting sites have been in continuous use for hundreds of years, occupied by successive generations of falcons.
Peregrine populations were in steep decline during the mid-20th century, and in the United States these beautiful falcons became an endangered species. The birds have rebounded strongly since the use of DDT and other chemical pesticides was curtailed. Captive breeding programs have also helped to boost the bird's numbers in the U.S. and Canada. Now populations are strong in those nations, and in some parts of the globe, there actually may be more peregrines than existed before the 20th-century decline.
Peregrines are favored by falconers, and have been used in that sport for many centuries.

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