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.

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

Eastern Bluebird

Scientific Name:  Sialia sialis  Where Eastern Bluebirds Live:    Meadows, field edges, golf courses and other open areas surrounded by trees that offer suitable nest holes or perhaps even nest boxes … Continue reading

March 2, 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: American Crocodile

Scientific Name:   Crocodylus acutus Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1975 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered (Florida population is threatened, as of 2007)  Conservation Efforts and Partners:   Preserving and … Continue reading

February 24, 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: Bog Turtle

Scientific Name:   Clemmys muhlenbergii Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1997 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Threatened Conservation Efforts and Partners:   In 1986, a program began in Tennessee that ultimately … Continue reading

February 17, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating World Pangolin Day: Temnick’s Ground Pangolin (Cape Pangolin)

Scientific Name:   Manis temminckii Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1976 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered Conservation Efforts and Partners:    Cape pangolins are protected by legislation in a few … Continue reading

February 15, 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

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Karner Blue Butterfly

Scientific Name:   Lycaeides melissa samuelis Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1992 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered Conservation Efforts and Partners: Beginning with twelve members in 2001, The Butterfly … Continue reading

February 11, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Ozark Hellbender

Scientific Name:   Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  2011 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered Conservation Efforts and Partners: In 2011, the Saint Louis Zoo and the … Continue reading

February 7, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Bornean and Sumatran Orangutan

Scientific Name:   (Pongo pygmaeus) and (Pongo abelii) While all orangutans were previously believed to be subspecies of the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), recent research supports the taxonomic classification of the … Continue reading

February 5, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Piping Plover

Scientific Name:   (Charadrius melodus) Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1985 Endangered Species Listing Status:   Endangered in the Great Lakes watershed. Threatened everywhere else. Conservation Efforts and Partners:  In … Continue reading

February 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Desert Tortoise

Scientific Name: (Gopherus agassizii) Year Listed on the Endangered Species List: 1980 Endangered Species Listing Status: Threatened Conservation Efforts and Partners: In March 2009, the San Diego Zoo Institute for … Continue reading

February 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

What is the Endangered Species Act?

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973. On December 28th of that year, President Richard Nixon signed … Continue reading

February 1, 2014 · Leave a comment

Sun Bear

Scientific Name:  Helarctos malayanus  Helarctos is Greek for “sun” and “bear”.  Malayanus is Latin and refers to “located in Malaysia.” Where Sun Bears Live:    Sun bears live in mainland Southeast … Continue reading

January 30, 2014 · Leave a comment

Evolutionary Bears: Giants and Cave Dwellers

The earliest bear was about the size of a fox terrier dog and is known as the “Dawn Bear” (Ursavus elemensis) and its remains were found in subtropical Europe.  By … Continue reading

January 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

American Black Bear

Scientific Name:  Ursus americanus. Ursus is Latin for “bear.”  Americanus is Latin for “American.” Where American Black Bears Live:    Black bears live in most of North America from Alaska, across … Continue reading

January 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

Sloth Bear

Scientific Name:  Melursus ursinus Melursus means “dark (hair) honey bear.”  Ursinus is Latin for “bear.” Where Sloth Bears Live:    Throughout India, Sri Lanka, and further north into Bangladesh, Nepal, and … Continue reading

January 21, 2014 · Leave a comment

Bears in Entertainment

In 2002, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service seized six polar bears in Puerto Rico that were owned by the Suarez Brothers Circus, a circus based in Mexico. The … Continue reading

January 20, 2014 · Leave a comment

Polar Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus maritimus Ursus is from Latin ursinus “of or resembling a bear”. Maritimus is from Latin maritimus “of the sea or near the sea”. Where Polar Bears Live: … Continue reading

January 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

Brown Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus arctos Ursus is Latin for “bear”; arctos comes from Greek arktos, meaning bear.  The double meaning here may suggest that brown bears are the archetypal bear. There … Continue reading

January 16, 2014 · Leave a comment

The International Trade in Bear Parts and Bear Bile

As you are reading this, there are an estimated 12,000-20,000 bears confined to tiny cages throughout Asia, primarily in China, Malaysia and Thailand. These bears are victim to the barbaric … Continue reading

January 14, 2014 · 3 Comments

Asiatic Black Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus thibetanus Ursus is from Latin ursinus “of or resembling a bear”. Thibetanus is Latin for “located in Tibet”. Where Asiatic Black Bears Live: Fossil remains of the … Continue reading

January 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

Andean Bear

Scientific Name:  Tremarcto ornatus Tremarctos is a combination of Latin words that translate to “tremendous bear”.  Ornatus is in reference to the ornate design on face and around the eyes like … Continue reading

January 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

Bear Evolution 101

I am beginning Bear Month at The Whisker Chronicles with a fairly technical blog in order to elaborate on how very long bears have existed. There are now only a … Continue reading

January 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

Regift Your Christmas Tree to Wildlife (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

December 30, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Twelve of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Moose

Scientific Name:  Alces alces is the Eurasian moose.  Alces americanus is the American moose.

December 25, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Eleven of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Walrus

Scientific Name:  Odobenus rosmarus Odobenus rosmarus is Latin for “tooth-walking sea-horse”.  Walruses use their tusks to haul out onto pack ice and it looks like they are walking on their … Continue reading

December 24, 2013 · Leave a comment