All posts in "Animals"
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#851 Horses give wings to special riders

By Cathryn Wellner / November 14, 2013

I cannot walk, or run, or play a game of tennis everyday…. But I CAN ride through the forest trails… when carried high, my feet take wings… John A. Davis “My feet take wings” is such an apt and beautiful description of the spirit-buoying freedom that many physically and developmentally disabled people experience on the […]

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#837 The ethereal cricket chorus

By Cathryn Wellner / October 31, 2013

In the foreground we hear the chirping of crickets, played at normal speed. In the background, an ethereal chorus sings rising and falling notes, like a meditation inspired by the spirit’s search for meaning. The chorus is made up of crickets, recorded and slowed down until they sound like a magnificent choir singing a cappella. […]

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#825 Eerie world of the sea

By Cathryn Wellner / October 19, 2013

The sea is vital to life on the planet, yet its mysteries are seen by so few of us. One of the best ambassadors for the astonishing creatures at home in the watery world is David Gallo. He gives us new eyes in the water that covers 70 percent of the earth. In his 1998 […]

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#797 A girl and her dog graduate from the University of Illinois

By Cathryn Wellner / September 21, 2013

A fresh-faced, 21-year-old Bridget Evans entered the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2010. At her side was Cole, an 11-year-old black Labrador retriever who had been her faithful sidekick for years. Evans has spina bifida so Cole pulled her wheelchair, picked things up for her, opened doors and turned switches on and off. In addition […]

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#791 They brake for toads

By Cathryn Wellner / September 15, 2013

Around the third week of August, millions of western toadlets begin their migration from the shores of British Columbia’s Summit Lake to their destination in an upland habitat. And every year the tiny creatures, about the size of a dime, get squashed as they cross Highway 6. It is bad for the highway, which becomes […]

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#780 Invasive plants get their goats

By Cathryn Wellner / September 4, 2013

Farmers know more about invasive plants than any of them want to know. When I farmed in the Cariboo region of central British Columbia, I became entirely too familiar with the purple blossoms and spiny leaves of Canada thistle. Pigs and camels were our best control. The two camels loved the spiny tops. The pigs […]

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#776 Down in the muck, up in the stars

By Cathryn Wellner / August 31, 2013

Consider the lowly dung beetles, whose cuteness factor is nil but whose usefulness is high. They are one of nature’s humble custodians, rolling feces into balls that are their sole source of food. They are so devoted to their clean-up task the state of Texas imported them in the 1970s. Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension says […]

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#756 Homing pigeons have built-in GPS

By Cathryn Wellner / August 11, 2013

From a pigeon’s point of view, city living has loads of amenities and few drawbacks. Flat surfaces abound, perfect hideaways for nesting and roosting. Humans are exceedingly careless with food scraps and leave pigeon banquets in their wake. Predators are few. With so many advantages to urban dwelling, our pigeon neighbours easily establish themselves. They […]

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#753 Wild dolphins call each other by name

By Cathryn Wellner / August 8, 2013

Scientists have known for a while now that dolphins have distinct whistles to signal each other. What they are just learning is that they use signature whistles the same way we two-legged, land-hugging mammals use names. Researchers at University of St. Andrews in Scotland recorded every member of a pod of bottlenose dolphins. They also […]

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#734 Tarra, Bella and friendship’s mysterious chemistry

By Cathryn Wellner / July 20, 2013

The chemistry of friendship is mysterious. We meet so many people in our lives, yet only a handful of them become close friends. The same is true of other species. One of the most moving examples is the friendship of Tarra the elephant and Bella the dog. Tarra was captured in the wild in 1974. […]

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