Friday, May 29, 2015

It's Turtle Time: Lend a Helping Hand

Turtles need a helping hand this time of year. Female turtles are on the move looking for nest locations. Many travel far distances from their home area in order to lay eggs. A turtle could end up in your yard even if you don't live adjacent to a pond or lake.

You can support their efforts and rescue turtles that get into trouble. They don't account for dangerous obstacles like roads, driveways and lawns, they go where their instincts direct them. Here are some tips you can follow to help them navigate across treacherous areas.
Box Turtle Crossing Road
  1. If you find a turtle in your lawn leave it be, it may have found a place to lay eggs.
  2. Be careful before mowing. Always check to make sure you do not see a turtle.
  3. If a service cares for your lawn, warn the owner to be on the look out for turtles.
  4. If you see a turtle crossing the road and if you can do so safely, pick it up and place it on the other side of the road in the direction it was going. Caution --- do not pick up snapping turtles, use a shovel. You can identify a snapper by its sharp beak-like mouth. If you are unsure, use a shovel. It's better to err on the side of caution. 
If you do give a turtle a hand and have a camera handy, snap a photo and record the date/place/time. Many state fish and wildlife agencies collect turtle data. Often you can report your finding on the agency Web site. Many turtle species are threatened or endangered. You can help your state better understand the distribution of turtle populations and assist in the development of plans to manage the populations in your state.

Don't forget to share your photo here in the comments section, Twitter feed or Facebook page. We at KDN love turtles!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring into Wildlife Reality TV - Best Critter cams for Spring Wildlife Viewing

Bald Eagle Chicks
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Critter cams are an amazing thing. How else is it possible to be a voyeur on the intimate details of family life. Ok,'re right, reality TV. But seriously, critter cams open up the amazing the world of animals right before your eyes and provide a fantastic opportunity for observation and study. It's especially cool in the spring, when eggs are hatching and families are being raised. My kids and I enjoy watching, via various Web sites, critter cams positioned all around the country. They provide a great source entertainment.

Who remembers Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom? When I was growing up, under no circumstances would I miss that show.  Every week I faithfully turned on the tube to watch until it went off the air. It was revived in 2002 on Animal Planet and now also appears online as Webisodes. But I digress....

With that show and all nature programs, you are at the mercy of what videographers and producers decide to show you. You only get to see what is cool and interesting through their eyes.With critter cams, you get to see the real deal. Nature in its finest reality. It's interesting, sometimes boring, but often really cool. You see and learn things you would never be able to observe under normal circumstances with binoculars.

Because I like to provide my readers with good value, I have researched and found the best critter cam sites from around the United States and elsewhere. Here's a list for you to check out and bookmark. Many vie for the extreme cuteness award!  You can watch babies of all types being fed and being adorable.
*Note: depending on the season and activity of the animal, many of the critter cams are seasonal and the feed may not be live. Also, because animals are unpredictable, you may not see the wildlife you hope to see. Check back. You may also need special plugins to view the feeds.
  • Wildlife Forever's Web site - links to some of the best of the Web
  • Your state fish and wildlife agency often has critter cams set up. Check the agency web site. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is a great example.
  • National Audubon Society has, you guessed, bird cams and gray seal cam.
  • National Park Service offers live cams at many parks. This one of Bald Eagles is at Channel Islands.
  • The National Wildlife Refuge System offers feeds, but many are offline.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers many feeds. Use "cam" in the search box and the Web site will display and long list of what is available.
  • offers an enormous collection of viewing cams. You can watch Giant Panda's in China, Polar Bears in Canada, Hippos in Africa, Honey Bees in Germany and Sharks in the United kingdom. It's really awesome.
I hope you enjoy watching the the wonder and awe of nature with your kids! Please comment with other cams that you follow. It would be great to fins more.