Monarch butterfly migration, new research

This video from the USA says about itself:

Pacific monarchs migrate 2,500 miles between California and Mexico. This 10 minute segment captures some of the thousands of butterflies along the journey.

From Wildlife Extra:

Inbuilt compasses help monarch butterflies migrate

How new generations of monarch butterflies, despite never have travelled the distance before, find their way from their breeding sites in eastern United States to their overwintering habitat in central Mexico has long puzzled scientists.

Previous studies have revealed that the butterflies use a time-compensated sun compass in their antenna to help them make their 2,000 mile migratory journey to overwintering sites.

However how they found their way under dense cloud cover remained a mystery.

US scientists, using flight simulators equipped with artificial magnetic fields, found that if they changed the fields the monarchs oriented in the opposite direction, to the north instead of the south.

“Our study shows that monarchs use a sophisticated magnetic inclination compass system for navigation similar to that used by much larger-brained migratory vertebrates such as birds and sea turtles, ” said co-author Robert Gegear, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“For migratory monarchs, the inclination compass may serve as an important back up system when daylight cues are unavailable.

“It may also augment hand-in-hand with the time-compensated sun compass to provide orientation and directionality throughout the migration process.”

To work, the compass is light dependant, relying on a certain wavelength of ultra-violet ray that can penetrate dense cloud.

However this study also opens up the possibility that the monarch survival could be vulnerable to potential disruption of the magnetic field.

“Greater knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the autumn migration may well aid in its preservation, currently threatened by climate change and by the continuing loss of milkweed and overwintering habitats,” said senior study author Steven Reppert of UMass Medical School.

“A new vulnerability to now consider is the potential disruption of the magnetic compass in the monarchs by human-induced electromagnetic noise, which can also affect geomagnetic orientation in migratory birds.”

Fireflies in the USA

This video from the USa is called Fireflies in Pennsylvania.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

Why Do Fireflies Flash Their Lights At Us?

Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 by eNature

I was kayaking on the Potomac River yesterday evening and saw my first fireflies of the season in the foliage along the river bank.

It had been a great paddle with lots of osprey fishing, barn swallows enjoying insects overhead, leaping bass making huge splashes, and even an encounter with a slightly confused beaver.

But the fireflies were the most unexpected sighting.

There were only a few, but they’re a sure sign that spring is moving on into summer..

And now that summer is here (at least unoffically) many of us will be encountering fireflies in our yards and gardens.

Despite their small size and preference for dark places, fireflies deservedly receive a lot of attention when summer arrives. And there’s a lot more going on than many of us realize…

A Tale of Lust And Death

Their remarkable green and yellow flashing lights have a hypnotic effect on people. Children in particular are drawn to fireflies. But the same throbbing glow that attracts youngsters often leads male fireflies to their deaths.

In warm-weather months, especially where open meadows and forests coexist, the adult male fireflies of most species set out on mating flights in the evening hours. The females, meanwhile, await their mates in the foliage, blinking seductively. The task for each male is to find an unmated female of its own species.

It’s critical that the female be unmated because in many firefly species the females change through internal chemistry into man-eaters once they successfully mate. Thereafter they use their blinks to attract meals. Some females even imitate the idiosyncratic blinking patterns of other species in an effort to attract as many unsuspecting males as possible.

It’s a fly-eat-fly world out there!

Have you seen any fireflies yet? Or any other summer creatures?

We always enjoy hearing your stories.

Click here to read more about one of our most common species of firefly.

Ruby Dee, actress and civil rights fighter, RIP

This video from the USA is called Ruby Dee on Malcolm X Assassination: ‘My Blood Runs Cold Just to Talk About It’.

From CBS News in the USA:

June 12, 2014, 1:13 PM

Ruby Dee, actress and activist, dead at 91

Ruby Dee, an acclaimed actor and civil rights activist whose versatile career spanned stage, radio television and film, her agent confirmed to CBS News. She was 91.

Her daughter Nora Davis Day told The Associated Press on Thursday that Dee died at home in New Rochelle, N.Y., on Wednesday night.

Dee, who frequently acted alongside her husband of 56 years, Ossie Davis, was surrounded by family and friends, she added.

Like her husband (who died in 2005), Dee was active in civil rights issues and efforts to promote the cause of blacks in the entertainment industry. As young performers, they found themselves caught up the growing debate over social and racial justice in the United States. The couple’s push for social justice was lifelong: In 1999, they was arrested while protesting the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, by New York City police.

They were friends with baseball star Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel – Dee played her, opposite Robinson himself, in the 1950 movie, “The Jackie Robinson Story” – and with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. Dee and Davis served as masters of ceremonies for the historic 1963 March on Washington and she spoke at both the funerals for King and Malcom X.

She won a National Medal of the Arts in 1995 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000. In 2004, she and Davis received Kennedy Center Honors. Another honor came in 2007, after Davis’ death, when the recording of their memoir won a Grammy for best spoken word album, a category that includes audio books.

Among her best-known films was “A Raisin in the Sun,” in 1961, the classic play that explored racial discrimination and black frustration. On television, she was a leading cast member on the soap operas such in the 1950s and ’60s, a rare sight for a black actress in the 1950s and 60s.

As she aged, her career did not ebb. Dee was the voice of wisdom and reason as Mother Sister in Spike Lee’s 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” alongside her husband. She won an Emmy as supporting actress in a miniseries or special for 1990’s “Decoration Day.”

Her long career brought her an Oscar nomination at age 83 for best supporting actress for her role in the 2007 film “American Gangster,” in which she played the mother of Denzel Washington’s character. She also won an Emmy and was nominated for several others.

Born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland to parents who soon split, Dee moved to Harlem as an infant with a brother and two sisters, living with relatives and neighbors. She graduated from highly competitive Hunter High School in 1939 and enrolled at Hunter College. “I wanted to be an actor but the chances for success did not look promising,” she wrote in their joint autobiography.

But in 1940 she got a part in a Harlem production of a new play, “On Strivers Row,” which she later called “one giant step” to becoming a person and a performer.

In 1965, she became the first black woman to play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival. She won an Obie Award for the title role in Athol Fugard‘s “Boesman and Lena” and a Drama Desk Award for her role in “Wedding Band.”

Most recently, Dee performed her one-woman stage show, “My One Good Nerve: A Visit With Ruby Dee,” in theaters across the country. The show was a compilation of some of the short stories, humor and poetry in her book of the same title.

She is survived by three children: Nora, Hasna and Guy, and seven grandchildren.

The illustrious African American stage and screen actress, writer and social activist Ruby Dee died Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City, at the age of 91. Dee, married to fellow actor Ossie Davis for more than half a century, is still perhaps best known for stage performances in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959), about a working class family in Chicago, and Davis’ Purlie Victorious (1961), as well as the screen version of the former released in 1961: here.

Save American sage grouse, petition

From eNature in the USA:

Save the Greater Sage-Grouse. Sign Our Petition To Protect An Iconic American Bird! Take action today!

Greater sage grouse

These majestic birds are in rapid decline becaus their prairie habitat is being rapidly developed.

Please sign our petition encouraging measures to protect the sage grouse’s nesting habitat!

Dear Friend,

The Greater sage-grouse, one of America’s most spectacular birds, celebrated for its fascinating mating dance, lives its entire life in the wide open spaces of the American West, from the Dakotas to California. The sage-grouse’s sagebrush habitat is also home to a variety of magnificent wildlife, including elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and golden eagles. But these uniquely American birds face dire threats.

You can help protect our remaining sage-grouse by signing this petition!

Greater sage grouse

Sage grouse populations have plummeted during the last century because more than half its sagebrush habitat has been lost or degraded due to unbalanced management of our Western lands.

However, there is hope….

The Bureau of Land Management is creating management plans to guide conservation of the sage-grouse and its sagebrush habitat throughout the West. It will take President Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the BLM, and Western state governors working together to ensure that the BLM’s final plans provide adequate, meaningful protections while allowing responsible development.

Will you sign our petition urging action to protect our remaining Greater sage grouse?

Please urge President Obama and other decision-makers to protect the remaining healthy sagebrush habitat across our public lands for the greater sage-grouse and other wildlife that make their home in these remarkable places.

So please sign this petition. President Obama, Secretary Jewell and others need to know we ALL believe that these birds and their habitat deserve protection.

Thank you for your help– it really can help make a difference! While it may seem like “inside baseball”, the collaborative approach our petition seeks is the ONLY way that we can find a way for grouse and humans to thrive together.


Robin McVey

Robin McVey
Public Editor,

Take action today!

P.S. eNature and have teamed up to send periodic updates providing folks ways to help protect America’s wildlife. Please get involved by signing our petition today!

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Video of US President Roosevelt walking

This video from the USA says about itself:

15 mei 2014

Jimmie DeShong motion picture film featuring Franklin Delano Roosevelt arriving by car and walking to stands during the July 7, 1937 Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C.

1937, black and white, 8mm, silent
Running Time: [02:51]
Production: James (Jimmie) DeShong Home Movie
From: Audio-Visual Collection (MG 254), M0254_0000_0000_0001, Pennsylvania State Archives
Copyright: 2014 PA State Archives

Identifiable players and other figures in order as they appear at Griffith Stadium

July 7, 1937 All-Star Baseball Game players and dignitaries:
Joe McCarthy – manager of American League team
Jo-Jo Moore – NY Giants
Charlie Gehringer – Tigers
Lefty Grove – Red Sox
Spud Chandler – Yankees #13
Lou Gehrig – Yankees #4
Jimmie Foxx – Red Sox
Lefty Gomez – Yankees
Red Rolfe – Yankees
Hank Greenberg – Tigers
Beau Bell – St. Louis Browns
Sam West – St. Louis Browns
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis – Commissioner of Baseball
Eddie Collins – General Manager of the Boston Red Sox and former player
Tom Yawkey – Owner of the Boston Red Sox
Carl Hubbell – NY Giants
Dizzy Dean – Cardinals

Parade into ballpark:
Boy Scouts
FDR in convertible car
FDR walking into Griffith Stadium stands

See also here.

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Young owls hatching and fledging on United States webcams

This video from the USA says about itself:

First Glimpse of Barred Owl Chick #1

On April 9, 2014, the female Barred Owl on the Wild Birds Unlimited camera left the nest for a few minutes and we were able to get a glimpse of the hatchling #1. Note the fish prey in the bottom right that was brought into the nestbox; not always a food associated with owls.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Nonstop Owl Action

Our two owl cams have been a whirlwind of activity over the last few days. The three owlets at the Wild Birds Unlimited Barred Owl Cam were named Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by the cams community, and on May 12, Wynken fledged from the box to a nearby maple. Over the next couple days the other two owlets will leave the box, and may not return to it ever again. Don’t miss your chance to see them before they depart for the outside world! Watch the owlets.

In addition to the fledging activity, two of the five eggs at the Texas Barn Owl Box hatched out over Mother’s Day weekend (watch the highlight video), and the third hatched yesterday! The last two should hatch over the next few days. Watch now.

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