Search Results for "phain"

  • Phainopepla

    By Sharon Arnold Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. … There is, indeed, a bird with a distinctive crest that looks like a black cardinal. The male Phainopepla is pure black with white wing patches that flash when it summersaults from a high perch to catch an insect. Females are dusky gray with whitish edges on their wings. Both sexes have red eyes. Cardinals feed close to or on the ground, while Phainopeplas prefer hunting for insects and berries from a bit higher up and rarely land on the ground. Some Phainopepla are vigorous defenders of territories with mistletoe. These silky-flycatchers are unique among the birds that migrate to Prescott to breed. Phainopela have already nested in the upper Sonoran Desert in dense stands of paloverde, mesquite, and ironwood where mistletoe is abundant. After raising one brood, Phainopepla take off for higher elevations and set up housekeeping a second time. Now, their preferred nesting site is in pinyon, oak, and juniper woodlands associated with riparian habitat. In the desert, nesting activities begin early, often in February. These birds start appearing in Prescott in May. The males select nest sites and can begin construction even before attracting a mate. Courtship displays are spectacular. Males rise to 300 feet, circling or zigzagging above their territory. They chase away other males and offers females food during courtship. This seven-and-a-half-inch bird builds a relatively small

  • News from the Wilds: November 2017

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris Highlands. The cold has crawled from the cracks of night into the light of day changing how all of the creatures of the region live. The coming season brings scarcity of food and water along with low, sometimes killing temperatures, and every species, plant and animal, has their set of adaptations to these challenges. These adaptations are sometimes physiological and sometimes behavioral, though for most species there is a little of both. Mammals (including humans) and some non-migratory birds begin to undergo cold acclimatization now, which includes redirection of blood flow away from skin, accumulation of insulative body fat and fur, and metabolic and chemical changes, all resulting in an overall increase in tolerance for low temperatures. Insects undergo a wide variety of changes — some, including bumblebees, generate propylene glycol (antifreeze) in their blood, which prevents them from freezing, while others develop the ability to raise their body temperatures far above that of the surrounding air, proving themselves anything but “cold-blooded.” Reptiles and amphibians are able to tolerate very low body temperatures without any injury, though some snakes, such as rattlesnakes, gather together in large numbers in caves to avoid killing frosts. Many birds, including the swallows and warblers, migrate south both for food and to avoid the cold, while mammals such as Black Bears, Rock Squirrels, and Beavers, create dens in which to shelter. The

  • News from the Wilds: January 2017

    Dec 30, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Mogollon Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their endurance. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures —pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens; Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities; and ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost and freeze damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom give birth this month. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous

  • Plant of the Month: Mistletoe

    Dec 2, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By David Moll At one point in history, mistletoe was highly valued, even revered. Nowadays, in modern-day America, mistletoe seems to have a reputation as a pest, a freeloader, and a parasite. (The accurate term is hemiparasite, since Arizona mistletoes are capable of some photosynthesis.) We may enjoy mistletoe as a holiday custom, but if you pay attention, you can see why mistletoe is still highly valued and plays a crucial role in Southwest ecology. So what is “mistletoe”? In Arizona, there are 15 species in two groups: one group simply known as mistletoe (Phoradendron) with seven species, and dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium) with eight species. These obligate hemiparasites won’t grow just anywhere; they need a host, sometimes species-specific, sometimes somewhat broader in scope. It’s dwarf mistletoes that require more specific hosts. In all our species, the leaves (reduced to scales in some) are paired opposite one another, there is no corolla, and the boys (stamens) and girls (pistils) are on separate plants. When pollinated, those girls produce berries. The aerial hemiparasitic lifestyle, however, has a unique problem to solve. Unlike most plants, if your seeds end up on anything other than a requisite host, they’re doomed. Our mistletoes have evolved to have the flesh of their berries be very sticky. As such, it can adhere the seed to a live branch of a host. Dispersal of those sticky seeds is

  • News From the Wilds: November 2016

    Nov 4, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris November is the beginning of the long quiet of winter for the Mogollon Highlands. The cold has crawled from the cracks of night into the light of day, changing how all of the creatures of the region live. The coming season brings scarcity of food and water, along with low, sometimes killing temperatures, and every species, plant and animal, has their set of adaptations to these challenges. These adaptations are sometimes physiological and sometimes behavioral, though for most species there is a little of both. Mammals (including humans) and some non-migratory birds begin to undergo cold acclimatization now, which includes redirection of blood flow away from skin, accumulation of insulative body fat and fur, and metabolic and chemical changes, all resulting in an overall increase in tolerance for low temperatures. Insects undergo a wide variety of changes — some, including bumblebees, generate propylene glycol (antifreeze) in their blood, which prevents them from freezing, while others develop the ability to raise their body temperatures far above that of the surrounding air, proving themselves anything but “cold-blooded.” Reptiles and amphibians are able to tolerate very low body temperatures without any injury, though some snakes, such as rattlesnakes, gather together in large numbers in caves to avoid the killing frosts. Many birds, including the swallows and warblers, migrate south, both for food and to avoid the cold, while mammals such

  • News From the Wilds: January 2016

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Mogollon Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their strength. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures — pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens; Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities; and ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom are giving birth. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous trees have

  • News From the Wilds: November 2015

    Nov 6, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds3,304 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris November is the beginning of the long quiet of winter for the Mogollon Highlands. The cold has crawled from the cracks of night into the light of day, changing how all of the creatures of the region live. The coming season brings scarcity of food and water, along with low, sometimes killing temperatures, and every species, plant and animal, has their set of adaptations to these challenges. These adaptations are sometimes physiological and sometimes behavioral, though for most species there is a little of both. Mammals (including humans) and some non-migratory birds begin to undergo cold acclimatization now, which includes redirection of blood flow away from skin, accumulation of insulative body fat and fur, and metabolic and chemical changes, all resulting in an overall increase in tolerance for low temperatures. Insects undergo a wide variety of changes — some, including bumblebees, generate propylene glycol, or antifreeze, in their blood, which prevents them from freezing, while others develop the ability to raise their body temperatures far above that of the surrounding air, proving themselves anything but “cold-blooded.” Reptiles and amphibians are able to tolerate very low body temperatures without any injury, though some snakes, such as rattlesnakes, gather together in large numbers in caves to avoid the killing frosts. Many birds, such as the swallows and warblers, migrate south, both for food and to avoid the cold, while

  • News From the Wilds: January 2015

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds3,958 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Central Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their strength. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures. Pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens. Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities. Ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom are giving birth. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous trees have been dropped,

  • News From the Wilds: November 2014

    Oct 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds4,064 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris November is the beginning of the long quiet of winter for the Mogollon Highlands. The cold has crawled from the cracks of night into the light of day, and it has changed how all of the creatures of the region live. The coming season brings scarcity of food and water, along with low, sometimes killing temperatures, and every species, plant and animal, has their set of adaptations to these challenges. These adaptations are sometimes physiological and sometimes behavioral, though for most species there’s a little of both. Mammals (including humans) and some non-migratory birds begin to undergo cold acclimatization now. This includes redirection of blood flow away from skin, accumulation of insulative body fat and fur, and metabolic and chemical changes, all resulting in overall increase in tolerance for low temperatures. Insects undergo a wide variety of changes — some, including bumblebees, generate propylene glycol, or antifreeze, in their blood, which prevents them from freezing, while others develop the ability to raise their body temperatures far above that of the surrounding air, proving themselves anything but “cold-blooded.” Reptiles and amphibians are able to tolerate very low body temperatures without injury, though some snakes, such as rattlesnakes, gather together in large numbers in caves to avoid the killing frosts. Many birds, such as the swallows and warblers, migrate south, both for food and to avoid the cold. Meanwhile

  • News From the Wilds: January

    Jan 3, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds17 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January, and the long quiet of winter now reaches its coldest and snowiest period in the Central Highlands of Arizona. Every animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures ranging from hibernation (female Black Bears) to growing thicker coats (Bobcats and deer) to staying in well-stocked dens (ground squirrels, chipmunks, and beavers). Insects and herbaceous plants have adapted their lifecycles such that only their eggs and seeds overwinter. Meanwhile, trees decrease photosynthesis (either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings) and alter their chemistry (increasing lipid content and membrane permeability) to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases, these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But glimmers of the coming Spring continue as well. Some animals “plant their seeds” for the coming year, including Bears, Otters, and Great Horned Owls, who are all giving birth. Many wind-pollinated trees are in flower, while the broad leaves of cottonwoods, alders, and ash are gone, thus allowing pollen to travel farther without as many obstacles. Unfortunately, many species of juniper are included in this, which makes the next several months the peak allergy season for humans in the Central Highlands. January, with its snowfalls and floods, is one of the best times of the year to study the activity of mammals through tracking in

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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