Dutch hazel dormouse on video

This 20 September 2018 video is about a hazel dormouse.

Luuk Punt in the Netherlands made the video.


Birds, squirrels drinking in Spain

This video from Spain says about itself:

21 March 2017

Bird drinking fountain – Birds and Squirrels

A surprising bird feeder for the great variety of birds that come to bathe including the [sparrow]hawk.

Including, eg, blue tit, crested tit, nuthatch, chaffinch and rock bunting.

Young entangled squirrels saved

This 17 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Squirrels separated by vets after tails become entangled with strips of plastic waste

Five young [gray] squirrels in Wisconsin are recovering from a procedure to separate them, after their tails became entangled in a “Gordian knot” with strips of plastic.

The animals were found by a passerby, hopelessly struggling to separate themselves. It is believed that they tied themselves together in the nest, getting caught up in strands of grass and plastic that their parents had used to create their home.

The authorities were alerted, and the squirrels taken to the wildlife rehabilitation center at the Wisconsin Humane Society, where veterinarians found the animals to be “unruly” and “nippy”.

“You can imagine how wiggly and unruly (and nippy!) this frightened, distressed ball of squirrelly energy was”, the centre wrote on its Facebook page. “Our first step was to anaesthetise all five of them at the same time.”

Vets then began unravelling what they called a “Gordian Knot” – a reference to the legend of Phrygian Gordium, associated with Alexander the Great – of tightly tangled tails and nest material.

All of the squirrels sustained some degree of tissue damage to their tails, but after around 20 minutes of snipping with scissors they were freed.

“Now, one day later, they are all bright-eyed, and three of the five are ‘bushy-tailed’”, the centre said. “But we’ll need to monitor all of them for a couple of days to watch for tail necrosis caused by impaired blood flow.”

Beavers restoring ecological damage, new book

Eager, new book on beavers

By Sarah Zielinski, 10:49am, July 27, 2018:

Got an environmental problem? Beavers could be the solution

‘Eager’ reminds readers of all the ecological good that the dam builders do

Ben Goldfarb
Chelsea Green Publishing, $24.95

Most people probably don’t think of beavers until one has chewed through the trunk of a favorite tree or dammed up a nearby creek and flooded a yard or nearby road. Beavers are pests, in this view, on par with other members of the order Rodentia. But a growing number of scientists and citizens are recognizing the merits of these animals, science writer Ben Goldfarb explains in his new book Eager. Beavers are industrious architects, key engineers of healthy ecosystems and a potential solution to a host of environmental problems.

Neither the American beaver, Castor canadensis, nor its Eurasian cousin, C. fiber, are endangered. But by the 20th century, both species had been wiped out from many parts of their ranges, Goldfarb writes. The animal’s luscious, thick fur — with up to 126,000 hairs per stamp-sized patch of skin — was prized by hatmakers. Hunters and trappers killed beavers by the hundreds and thousands for their valuable pelts. To picture the scope of the damage, consider the haul of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1875, its biggest pelt-trading year: The company took in more than 270,000 beaver furs, largely from Canada.

With this level of hunting, whole swaths of continents were left bereft of beavers and their buildings. Beaver dams are more than just stoppages for waterways. “The structures come in an almost limitless range of shapes and sizes, from speed bumps the length of a human stride to a half-mile-long dike, visible from space”, Goldfarb writes. The lodges, dams, burrows and other structures offer the animals shelter from predators and weather, as well as storage for food. And the structures turn fast, narrow streams into swamps, wetlands and marshes that host a wide range of wildlife, from fish to insects to birds. These aren’t classically pretty ecosystems, but they are incredibly diverse and provide benefits such as water storage and pollution control.

Restoring beavers to landscapes where they’ve been missing could help with many environmental problems, Goldfarb says. He describes how beavers can help landowners survive drought and flooding, and provide shelter for young salmon and other economically valuable fish. Beaver structures also trap pollutants and excess nutrients before they cause problems downstream, and perhaps even trap extra carbon in sediment and plants and thus help mitigate climate change.

Goldfarb backs up these benefits with a pile of scientific studies. Still, he notes, ranchers, farmers, politicians and others can be hard to convince: When beaver and landowner interests collide, some people are still more likely to grab their guns than call in a beaver control specialist (yes, they exist). In some localities, there are even conflicting policies, some promoting beaver restoration and others encouraging beaver eradication. But despite those challenges, conservation efforts have been successful, and beaver populations are on the rise in many places where the animals had nearly disappeared.

Goldfarb’s writing shines with beautiful language and colorful stories — like that time dozens of beavers were air-dropped into Idaho in one of the most successful beaver restoration projects in history. That tale and others make Eager an especially pleasant read. The mountains of evidence of beavers’ ecological benefits provided within the book’s pages just might make a “Beaver Believer” out of you.

Beavers in Finland: here.

How bears help small mammals

This 2014 video says about itself:

Grizzly Bears Catching Salmon | Nature’s Great Events | BBC

It’s the time of year when the salmon make their annual pilgrimage upstream to spawn, but leaping past the waiting hungry bears is no easy task.

From Oregon State University in the USA:

Berry-gorging bears disperse seeds through scat and feed small mammals

July 5, 2018

New research shows that mice and voles scurry to bear scats to forage for seeds, finding nutritional value in the seeds and in some cases further dispersing them.

The study is published in the journal Ecosphere by researchers at Oregon State University and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The research builds on an OSU study that determined that bears are the primary seed dispersers of berry-producing shrubs in Alaska.

In southeastern Alaska, brown and black bears are plentiful because of salmon. Bears frequently supplement their salmon-based diet with fruit as they build their fat stores for winter hibernation. As a result, their seed-filled scats are found throughout the landscape.

“Salmon can have a far greater impact on the ecosystem than we thought”, said study lead author Yasaman Shakeri, an Oregon State University graduate now with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “Our study shows how small mammals can benefit indirectly from salmon through high bear densities that salmon support and the resulting seed-filled scats on the landscape. Not only are small mammals spending months feeding and fighting for the seeds in scats, they’re also scattering the seeds on the landscape, which allows some of the seeds to become future fruiting plants.”

The researchers placed motion-triggered cameras near bear scats in the upper Chilkat Valley, 30 miles north of Haines, from June to October in 2014 and 2015. They recorded visits to the scat made by small mammals and birds.

Northwestern deer mice made 4,295 total visits to the scats — an average of 8.5 a day. Northern red-backed voles visited 1,099 times at an average of 2.2 times a day. In addition to the cameras, the researchers also live-trapped and tagged small mammals to estimate their abundance and population densities.

The team collected bear scats on roads and trails within the study area from July-September in 2014 and 2015 and analyzed the nutritional characteristics found in the 12 species of fruit found in the scats, including gross energy, total dietary fiber, crude protein and crude fat. From those samples, they estimated digestible energy per seed.

The energy within the seeds in bear scats can be a significant portion of the energy budget of rodents. For example, a single bear scat contained 73,230 devil’s club seeds, which was capable of meeting the daily energy requirements of 91 deer mice. In coastal Alaska riparian areas, bears are potentially capable of indirectly subsidizing the energy needs of 45-65 percent of local deer mouse populations, Shakeri said.

In addition to consuming the seeds at the site, the mice appear to scatter-hoard the seeds in much the same way that gray squirrels scatter-hoard acorns, said Taal Levi, an ecologist in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and co-author on the study. Scatter-hoarding is creating a large number of small hoards, as opposed to a large hoard found in a single place.

“This process is called secondary seed dispersal and forgotten seeds can have much higher survival than unburied seeds”, Levi said.

The study was also co-authored by Kevin White, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife provided funding for the study.