The Whisker Chronicles

Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.

World Water Day 2015

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated World Water Day, to be celebrated annually on March 22, with the purpose of raising awareness and making a difference for people … Continue reading

March 23, 2015 · 2 Comments

Circuses as Conservationist Organizations? (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

All photos from the Creative commons. This week, Feld Entertainment announced that the thirteen elephants now traveling with the three Ringling Bros. Circus units will be retired in 2018. They … Continue reading

March 15, 2015 · 2 Comments

World Wildlife Day

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day for the purpose of celebrating plant and animal biodiversity, to recall the interconnectedness of human life and … Continue reading

March 2, 2015 · Leave a comment

Sentient Sandra and a Landmark Ruling on Animal Rights (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Last month, amid the holiday hustle and bustle and with little fanfare, a landmark legal ruling in the world history of animal rights occurred in Argentina. The ruling concerned an … Continue reading

January 20, 2015 · Leave a comment

Being Human, Being Caribou, and Being Wild (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

The Wilderness Act was signed into law in 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson. Therefore, this year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of a law which created the National Wilderness Preservation … Continue reading

December 18, 2014 · Leave a comment

National Bison Day (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

November 1 is National Bison Day. You can get in on the celebration through the Beards for Bison campaign by visiting http://www.beardsforbison.org/ which is organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society. … Continue reading

October 30, 2014 · Leave a comment

Extinct in the Wild: Guam Rail

Scientific Name: Gallirallus owstoni Historic Range and Habitat:   Most habitats on Guam, including forest, savanna, scrub, secondary grassland, fern thickets and agricultural areas, foraging along field edges and roadsides.  What … Continue reading

June 29, 2014 · 2 Comments

Extinct in the Wild: Kihansi Spray Toad

Scientific Name: Nectophrynoides asperginis Historic Range and Habitat:   The Udzungwa Mountains of eastern Tanzania in a very small range that is in the spray zone of Kihansi Falls in the Kihansi Gorge. What Kihansi … Continue reading

June 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

Brown Pelicans: An Endangered Species Recovery Success Story (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was a warm, sunny autumn afternoon and I was out for a stroll at my favorite spot on this Earth. October … Continue reading

June 17, 2014 · Leave a comment

Bycatch and Bygones: Ocean Biodiversity in Peril

When humans use several strategies at once in order to improve the odds of reaching a singular goal, we often characterize the approach as “casting a wide net.” While this … Continue reading

May 9, 2014 · 1 Comment

The Diversity of Fishes

I have loved water all my life. It seems all babies do. I was no exception when, as a toddler, I ignored my mother’s warning and jumped into the deep … Continue reading

May 4, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Courage to Challenge Tradition Saved 130 Moon Bears (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Recently, I wrote about the good news that the United Nation’s International Court of Justice ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s annual slaughter of whales in the southern ocean after … Continue reading

May 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

Binturong

All photos from the Creative Commons. Scientific Name: Arctictis binturong Also known as the “bearcat” because of its resemblance to both, but it is neither a bear nor a cat. … Continue reading

April 19, 2014 · 1 Comment

Eastern Gray Squirrel

All text and photos by Maymie Higgins At no time was my commitment to wildlife more clear to me. There he was, an orphaned tiny squirrel, eyes having just opened … Continue reading

April 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

What is Pollination and Seed Dispersal?

All photos and text by Maymie Higgins This month at The Whisker Chronicles, we will focus on specific plants and animals that are well-known for their interwoven roles in pollination … Continue reading

April 11, 2014 · 1 Comment

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

All photos by Maymie Higgins It is the first Saturday in April and I am sitting at my home office desk. As always, I have my laptop positioned so that … Continue reading

April 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

A Step Closer to the End of Commercial Whaling (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Text by Maymie Higgins All photos courtesy of Stacey Osborne and taken in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, except for photo of Japanese whaling vessel. In 1946, under volunteer agreement … Continue reading

April 5, 2014 · 1 Comment

Who Takes Care of Orphaned, Injured or Kidnapped Wildlife? (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Photo courtesy of The Wildlife Center of Virginia Spring is the time of year when many young animals are born or hatched.  It is also a time of year when … Continue reading

March 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Mystery of Bird Songs and Calls

“A robin feathering his nest Has very little time to rest While gathering his bits of twine and twig Though quite intent in his pursuit He has a merry tune … Continue reading

March 28, 2014 · 1 Comment

How To Help The Birds Affected By The Galveston Bay Oil Spill

  1.  Read about the ten bird species considered to be most vulnerable according to Audubon, and about the efforts that will be required to rescue and rehabilitate any birds … Continue reading

March 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

What Is That Crazy Bird Doing?!

Every spring, I am presented with stories by friends who want to know why birds are behaving in certain ways.  Or sometimes they just want to explain to me why … Continue reading

March 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

Carolina Wren

Scientific Name:  Thryothorus ludovicianus  Where Carolina Wrens Live:    Southeastern United States, north to Wisconsin and Michigan, southern Ontario, New York, and southern New England in brushy thickets, lowland cypress swamps, … Continue reading

March 20, 2014 · 3 Comments

Turkey Vulture

Scientific Name:  Cathartes aura The word vulture comes from the Latin vellere, which means to pluck or tear. Cathartes aura means either “golden purifier” or “purifying breeze,” quite a poetic … Continue reading

March 18, 2014 · 1 Comment

Pelican Island: The First U.S. National Wildlife Refuge

Bird feathers are incredible.  They help control body temperature, provide power for flying and come in a wide array of vibrant colors.  Some feathers are so beautiful that they were … Continue reading

March 17, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Wonderful Wonderbag (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

The Wonderbag comes vacuumed packed, with complete instructions for use and some recipes using Knorr products. Photo by Maymie Higgins What can you buy for $50?  A tank of gas?  … Continue reading

March 14, 2014 · Leave a comment

Red-shouldered Hawk

Scientific Name:  Buteo lineatus  Where Red-shouldered Hawks Live: Forests and swamps with dead trees or other perches nearby from which to observe and hunt.  Range includes eastern and northeast United … Continue reading

March 13, 2014 · 1 Comment

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scientific Name:  Tyrannus forficatus  Where Scissor-tailed Flycatchers Live:  Savannas with scattered trees, shrubs and patches of brush in the southern Great Plains, south Texas and just over the border into … Continue reading

March 11, 2014 · Leave a comment

Roseate Spoonbill

Scientific Name:  Ajaia ajaja  Where Roseate Spoonbills Live:    Mangrove swamps, mud flats and other marsh type habitat from southern Georgia and Florida, south through Central America down to Argentina.  What … Continue reading

March 9, 2014 · 2 Comments

Hyacinth Macaw

Scientific Name:  Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus  Where Hyacinth Macaws Live:    Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay in semi-open habitats, usually in forests that have a dry season that prevents the growth of a tall … Continue reading

March 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

How Do You Take Your Eggs?

Eggs.  What comes to mind when you read that word?  I think of my favorite summertime breakfast served on a table with fresh cut roses from my garden.  It’s the … Continue reading

March 6, 2014 · 3 Comments

American Kestrel

Scientific Name:  Falco sparverius  Where American Kestrels Live:   Open areas such as meadows, grasslands, deserts, parks, farm fields, cities, and suburbs. Kestrels need access to trees for nesting cavities during … Continue reading

March 4, 2014 · Leave a comment

March 3 is World Wildlife Day

In 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General  Assembly proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild plants and animals.  The date … Continue reading

March 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Legacy and Future of the Endangered Species Act

Disclaimer:  Like any good legislation, The Endangered Species Act is a dynamic law with the intended beneficiaries constantly changing.  The data for this blog was obtained directly from the U. … Continue reading

February 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

Treasures on the Fort Fisher Basin Trail (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

Text and Photographs By Maymie Higgins It was an adventure postponed far too long.  For the past twenty years, my annual travel plans have consistently included at least one long … Continue reading

February 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

How Saving Orangutans Can Lower Your Cholesterol (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

In my work as a nurse coach, I often explain to my patients the finer nuances of blood cholesterol laboratory results and how changes in nutrition can improve their numbers.  … Continue reading

February 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

Take the International Polar Bear Day Thermostat Challenge (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Thursday, February 27 is International Polar Bear Day, celebrated annually by Polar Bears International.  On this day, everyone is invited to join in celebrating it as a day of action … Continue reading

February 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Higgins Eye Pearlymussel

Scientific Name:  Lampsilis higginsii Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1976 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered  Conservation Efforts and Partners:    In the early 1980s, biologists from the U.S. Fish … Continue reading

February 25, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Desert Pupfish

Scientific Name:   Cyprinodon macularius Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1986 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered Conservation Efforts and Partners:   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arizona Game … Continue reading

February 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Eastern Indigo Snake

Scientific Name:   Drymarchon corais couperi Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1978 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Threatened Conservation Efforts and Partners:   In one example, partnerships were formed with Auburn University, Zoo Atlanta, … Continue reading

February 20, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: American Burying Beetle

Scientific Name:   Nicrophorus americanus Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1989 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered Conservation Efforts and Partners: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began capturing American … Continue reading

February 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Okaloosa Darter

Scientific Name:   Etheostoma okaloosae Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1973 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Threatened The Okaloosa darter was originally listed as endangered in 1973, with only 1,500 … Continue reading

February 12, 2014 · Leave a comment

Giant Panda

Scientific Name:  Ailuropoda melanoleuca “Ailuropoda” means black and white panda foot.  “Melano” means black or darkness of hair.  “Leuca” means white or colorless. Where Giant Pandas Live:  Giant pandas prefer … Continue reading

January 10, 2014 · Leave a comment

How Twin Bear Cubs Influenced My Travel Plans

On December 12, 2012, the National Zoo posted on Facebook that their Andean bear, Billie Jean, was showing signs of labor.  Thanks to web cams, many of us watched nervously … Continue reading

January 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

Day Ten of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Arctic Fox

Scientific Name:  Vulpes lagopus Vulpes is from the Latin vulpinus which means “of or pertaining to a fox”.

December 23, 2013 · 2 Comments

The Sacred Place Where Life Begins (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

In the developed world, we are accustomed to grocery stores, drive-through windows and internet access providing instant gratification and an abundance of resources at our beck and call.  Modern conveniences are fantastic … Continue reading

December 19, 2013 · Leave a comment

Another Perspective on Sea World, Orcas and Captive Animals (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

By Maymie Higgins The movie Blackfish is set to be released on DVD on Tuesday, November 12.  As much debate as the CNN airings and film festival

December 14, 2013 · 6 Comments

Champions for Cheetahs (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

When humans use analogies of strength and courage, they often conjure up images of large, predatory cats.  Lions are king of the

December 4, 2013 · Leave a comment

The American Wild Turkey (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

November 27, 2013 · Leave a comment

November is Manatee Awareness Month (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

November 19, 2013 · Leave a comment

$53 Billion of Organic Pest Control is not Spooky (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

My street is a typical rural North Carolina subdivision with ecological features that influenced my home purchase.  The narrow road

November 19, 2013 · 1 Comment