It’s the best time of year! The first baby bison of spring was recently spotted at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Calves are orange-red in color, earning them the nickname “red dogs.” They can walk within 3 hours of birth, and before long, nursery groups of calves will romp around together, never far from their mothers’ watchful eyes. Check out more bison facts: http://on.doi.gov/1Oc7VXg Photo by National Park Service.
The night time hoots of owls can make the forest a little spooky, but the look of this young great horned owl is just terrifying. Though it’s covered in fluffy feathers, its dominant features are its huge yellow eyes and powerful talons. Soon, this owl at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado will learn how to fly and become one of nature’s most skilled hunters; feared by prey across the country. Photo by Carole Meeter (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A group of river otters is called a romp. Commonly found in the South, Great Lakes region and in the Pacific Northwest, this romp was spotted hanging out at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. While they engage in playful behavior with each other, they are deadly hunters and can be dangerous when their territory is invaded. Please enjoy watching them from a distance. Photo by James Perdue, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, @usfwsmtnprairie.
Don’t call it a bunny. This is a black-tailed jackrabbit at Hopper Mountain and Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuges in California. Common across the western U.S., they’re known for their short black tails, powerful back legs and really long ears. This one does not look amused at your April Fools prank. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s that time of year when baby bald eagles start hatching! 🐣 Once on the verge of extinction because of habitat destruction, illegal shooting and contamination of its food source, the bald eagle is thriving today thanks to conservation efforts. Bald eagles live near rivers, lakes, marshes – and on public lands across the country. They mate for life, and typically lay 1-3 eggs from February to mid-April. Both adults incubate the eggs, which hatch about 35 days later, and new chicks keep the parents busy until they can fly from the nest around 3 months old. This year, eaglets have been hatching at Channel Islands National Park in California, the National Arboretum in D.C. and Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (pictured here). Photo by Mark Cook, South Florida Water Management District.
It’s Manatee Appreciation Day! These gentle giants can grow to over 14 feet in length and weigh over 3,000 pounds. Also, known as “sea cows,” manatees feed on seagrasses and other aquatic plants. Today, the total population is estimated to be at least 13,000 manatees, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. When aerial surveys began in 1991, there were only an estimated 1,267 manatees in Florida. Check out more fun facts about manatees: https://on.doi.gov/2fpJzxv Photo from Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
These little guys are the sled dogs at Denali – the only national park in the U.S. with a working dog team. Sled dogs have held an essential role in the life and culture of Alaska for thousands of years, and since the 1920s, Denali’s team has helped protect the park’s wildlife, scenery and wilderness.
This is so cute! With grasslands, forests, tidal salt marshes and freshwater ponds, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware provides excellent habitat for a terrific variety of animals. Some live here year round while others stop by as they make their way along the Atlantic Flyway. This time of year, visitors can see eagles, hawks, ducks, geese and litters of cute baby foxes. Photo of two red fox kits taken last week by Jennifer Cross, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It seems like everywhere you look, you can see tender moments between couples – including in the animal kingdom. So this Valentine’s Day say, “Awww!” with sweet pics of animals showing affection: https://on.doi.gov/affectionateanimals.
Life is better with friends. Just ask these two bear cubs playing leapfrog at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Be sure to thank your friends today and tell them how much they mean to you. Friends Day Photo by Hunt Karen (www.sharetheexperience.org).