A Great Trip Needs An Extraordinary Destination ...Hallo Bay? ABSOLUTELY

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fun Bird Facts

  1. Lighthouses are dangerous for birds. The beams attract birds, especially in misty conditions, and many are killed when they fly into the glass.
  2. Birds sense winter is coming by 1) changes in hormones that cause them to put on fat, 2) the changing length of the day, and 3) sensing small changes in air pressure, which is important in predicting weather changes.
  3. A group of crows is called a murder or congress. A group of owls is called a parliament, wisdom, or study. A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance.
  4. The Bald Eagle builds the largest tree nest of all birds, measuring about 9.5 ft. (2.9 m) across. The largest nest ever found was nearly 10 ft. wide and weighed close to 3 tons.
  5. Woodcocks and many ducks have their eyes placed at the sides of their heads so that they have a 360-degree field of vision.
  6. A special arrangement of blood vessels cools the blood going out to the feet and warms the blood coming back, so even when standing on the ice, birds don’t lose too much heat.
  7. Both the Bee and the Vervain Hummingbirds build the smallest nests of all birds, measuring 3/4" across and 1.2" deep.
  8. The most dangerous bird in the world is the Cassowary. With one kick it can kill its enemy.
  9. Birds that are raised for meat and eggs (poultry) are the largest source of protein eaten by humans.
  10. The Fieldfare birds have a special way to attack an enemy bird. They gang up on it and make it fly to the ground. Then the Fieldfares fly into the air and drop poop on the bird.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Center For Alaskan Coastal Studies

Had a wonderful time with the kids
teaching them how to make plaster casts of wolf prints.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Disnay Nature 'Bears' Movie

We would like to thank
everyone involved in helping make the
Disney Nature 'Bears' movie.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ravens in Alaska

Ravens in the Interior begin displaying courtship behavior in mid-January, and by mid-March adult pairs are roosting near their nesting locations. The female lays from 3 to 7 eggs. Only the female incubates the eggs; she is fed by the male while on the nest. The chicks hatch after about three weeks blind, featherless, and helpless: a characteristic known as altricial. They grow quickly, as both parents feed the young by regurgitating food and water which is stored in a throat pouch. About four weeks after hatching, young are ready to leave the nest, which is usually around the first week of June in the Interior. Young remain with parents after fledging.
Ravens reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age and mate for life. Ravens are probably very long-lived in the wild; one captive bird died of old age at 29 years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wolf Facts

  1. The Greek god Apollo is sometimes called Apollo Lykios, the wolf-Apollo, and was associated with the wind and sun. In Athens, the land surrounding the temple of Apollo became known as the Lyceum, or the “wolf skin.”
  2. In 1927, a French policeman was tried for the shooting of a boy he believed was a werewolf. That same year, the last wild wolves in France were killed.
  3. When Europeans arrived in North America, wolves became the most widely hunted animal in American history and were nearly extinct by the beginning of the twentieth century. The U.S. Federal government even enacted a wolf eradication program in the Western states in 1915.
  4. Dire wolves (canis dirus) were prehistoric wolves that lived in North America about two million years ago. Now extinct, they hunted prey as large as woolly mammoths.
  5. A wolf can run about 20 miles (32 km) per hour, and up to 40 miles (56 km) per hour when necessary, but only for a minute or two. They can “dog trot” around 5 miles (8km) per hour and can travel all day at this speed.
  6. The smallest wolves live in the Middle East, where they may weigh only 30 pounds. The largest wolves inhabit Canada, Alaska, and the Soviet Union, where they can reach 175 pounds.
  7. Wolves howl to contact separated members of their group, to rally the group before hunting, or to warn rival wolf packs to keep away. Lone wolves will howl to attract mates or just because they are alone. Each wolf howls for only about five seconds, but howls can seem much longer when the entire pack joins in.
  8. A light-reflecting layer on a wolf’s eye called the tapetum lucidum (Latin for “bright tapestry”) causes a wolf’s eyes to glow in the dark and may also facilitate night vision. While a wolf’s color perception and visual acuity maybe be inferior to a human’s, a wolf’s eyes are extremely sensitive to movement.
  9. Where there are wolves, there are often ravens (sometimes known as “wolf-birds”). Ravens often follow wolves to grab leftovers from the hunt—and to tease the wolves. They play with the wolves by diving at them and then speeding away or pecking their tails to try to get the wolves to chase them.
  10. In ancient Rome, barren women attended the Roman festival Lupercalia (named for the legendary nursery cave of Romulus and Remus) in the hopes of becoming fertile.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Alaska Mythology

A man belonging to the Raven clan living in a very large town had lost all of his friends, and he felt sad to think that he was left alone. He began to consider how he could leave that place without undergoing hardships. First he thought of paddling away, but he said to himself, "If I paddle away to another village and the people there see that I am alone, they may think that I have run away from my own village, on account of some other disgraceful thing." So he thought that he would go off into the forest.

While this man was traveling along in the woods the thought occurred to him to go to the bears and let the bears kill him. The village was at the mouth of a large salmon creek, so he went over to that early in the morning until he found a bear trail and lay down across the end of it. He thought that when the bears came out along this trail they would find and kill him.

By and by, as he lay there, he heard the bushes breaking and saw a large number of grizzly bears coming along. The largest bear led, and the tips of his hairs were white. Then the man became frightened. He did not want to die a hard death and imagined himself being torn to pieces among the bears. So, when the leading bear came up to him, he said to it, "I have come to invite you to a feast." At that the bear's fur stood straight up, and the man thought that it was all over with him, but he spoke again saying, "I have come to invite you to a feast, but, if you are going to kill me, I am willing to die. I am alone. I have lost all of my property, my children, and my wife."

As soon as he had said this the leading bear turned about and whined to the bears that were following. Then he started back and the rest followed him.  He imagined that the biggest bear had told his people to go back because they were invited to a feast. When he got home he began to clean up. The old sand around the fireplace he took away and replaced with clean sand. Then he went for a load of wood. When he told the other people in that village, however, they were all very much frightened, and said to him, "What made you do such a thing?" After that the man took off his shirt, and painted himself up, putting stripes of red across his upper arm muscles, a stripe over his heart, and another across the upper part of his chest.

Very early in the morning, after he had thus prepared, he stood outside of the door looking for them. Finally he saw them at the mouth of the creek, coming along with the same big bear in front. When the other village people saw them, however, they were so terrified that they shut themselves in their houses, but he stood still to receive them. Then he brought them into the house and gave them seats, placing the chief in the middle at the rear of the house and the rest around him. First he served them large trays of cranberries preserved in grease. The large bear seemed to say something to his companions, and as soon as he began to eat the rest started. They watched him and did whatever he did. The host followed that up with other kinds of food, and, after they were through, the large bear seemed to talk to him for a very long time. The man thought that he was delivering a speech, for he would look up at the smoke hole every now and then and act as though talking. When he finished he started out and the rest followed. As they went out each in turn licked the paint from their host's arm and breast.

The day after all this happened the smallest bear came back, as it appeared to the man, in human form, and spoke to him in Tlingit. He had been a human being who was captured and adopted by the bears. This person asked the man if he understood their chief, and he said, "No." "He was telling you," the bear replied, "that he is in the same condition as you. He has lost all of his friends. He had heard of you before he saw you. He told you to think of him when you are mourning for your lost ones."

When the man asked this person why he had not told him what was said the day before, he replied that he was not allowed to speak his native language while the chief was around. It was on account of this adventure that the old people, when they killed a grizzly bear, would paint a cross on its skin. Also, when they gave a feast, no matter if a person were their enemy, they would invite him and become friends just as this man did to the bears.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun Bird Facts

  1. Not all birds have equally hollow bones. Those that dive into water—like gannets, terns, and kingfishers—and those that fly very fast, like swifts, have less air in their long bones than other birds.
  2. What keeps a bird up in the air is the shape of its wings.The first humans to discover how birds stay aloft were Australian Aborigines when they invented the boomerang.
  3. The linear flight formations of migratory birds are called echelons, with the most common shapes being the “V” or the “J.” In fact, a true V-shaped formation is less common than a J formation. Birds fly in formation a) because it saves energy and b) to facilitate orientation and communication among the birds.
  4. An albatross can soar for as long as six hours without moving its wings.
  5. The heaviest bird in the air is the Kori Bustard, from East and South Africa. It weighs about 31 lb. (14 kg.), with the largest on recorded being 40 lb. (18 kg.). Because it is such hard work to fly, it flies only in emergencies and for only short distances.
  6.  A Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which weighs less than 0.2 oz., has to beat its wings more than 52 times a second to hover in front of a flower.
  7. The smallest bird in the world is the Bee Hummingbird of Cuba. It is just over 2 in. (5.7 cm.) long, which is not much bigger than a bumblebee.
  8. The fastest level flight by a bird has been seen in both the Spine-tailed Swift and the Red-breasted Merganser (a duck). They have flown at 100 mph (161 kph) in level flight.
  9. The slowest flying bird is the American Woodcock. It can fly at just 5 mph (8 kph). When hummingbirds hover, they move at 0 mph. Additionally, hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards under power, registering a negative speed.
  10. The Rufous hummingbird is the smallest migrant bird. It is less than 4 in. (9 cm) long and flies every year from Alaska to Mexico, a round trip of 3,800 miles (6,400 km).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DisneyNature 'Bears'

Meet The Cubs
in the Disney Nature Movie 

Filmed in large part at Hallo Bay Bear Camp

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes are among Alaska’s largest birds. They are wading birds that have long black legs, long necks, and black chisel-shaped bills. Adults stand almost three feet (0.9 m) tall and have a wing span of six feet (1.8 m) or more. Mature birds are an ash-gray color with a bright red forehead. Immature birds are quite mottled with coppery or rusty feathers and lack the red forehead of adults. Adult plumage is attained at two-and-a-half years. In the past, the sandhill cranes in Alaska were called “little brown” cranes and were thought to be a separate species based on their color.