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

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bird Groups

Names for Groups of Birds

Birds of prey (hawks, falcons) Cast, cauldron, kettle
Cormorants Flight
Crows Murder, congress, horde
Ducks Rafts, team, paddling
Eagles Convocation, congregation
Finches Charm
Flamingos Flamboyance
Geese Gaggle, plump, skein
Gulls Colony
Herons Siege, sedge
Jays Band, party, scold
Lark Bevy, exaltation, ascension
Owls Parliament, wisdom, study
Starling Chattering, affliction
Swans Wedge, ballet, lamentation
Turkeys Rafter, gobble
Woodpecker Descent
Wrens Herd, chime

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fun Facts about the First Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

  • The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America.
  •  They sailed on the ship, which was known by the name of 'Mayflower'. 
  •  They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts. 
  •  The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land. 
  •  The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.  The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. 
  •  Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving's feast table.
  •  Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.
  •  The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers.
  •  Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.
  •  Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb".
  •  Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  •   In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.

  • Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    More Alaska Facts

    Alaska Facts
    1. Prudhoe Bay, on the northern Alaskan coast, is North America's largest oil field.
    2. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on its 800 mile journey to Valdez.
    3. The fishing and seafood industry is the state's largest private industry employer.
    4. Most of America's salmon, crab, halibut, and herring come from Alaska.
    5. The term Alaska native refers to Alaska's original inhabitants including Aleut, Eskimo and Indian groups.
    6. The wild forget-me-not is the official state flower. The Territorial Legislature adopted it in 1917.
    7. The willow ptarmigan is the official state bird. The Territorial Legislature adopted it in 1955.
    8. The Sitka spruce is the official state tree. The Territorial Legislature adopted it in 1962.
    9. Dog mushing is the official state sport. The Alaska Legislature adopted it in 1972.
    10. An unnamed draftsman created the state seal in 1910. It consists of a rising sun shining on forests, lake, fishing and shipping boats, and agricultural and mining activities. 

    Monday, November 25, 2013



    The thick, wide bill is a trademark of all willow ptarmigan, the largest of Alaska’s three ptarmigan species.

    Another distinction is the white patch behind the male’s bill, lasting only two or three weeks in spring, before the chestnut plumage of early summer comes in. Only another ptarmigan can distinguish male’s from hens when willow ptarmigan are in winter plumage. Then, both sexes are white with black tail feathers. Beginning early in May the male’s develop a beautiful cape of chestnut-red feathers. They court the hens in this plumage, not completing the change to the brown summer plumage until the hens are nearly finished incubating the clutch of eggs.

    No sooner does the male get this first set of dark chestnut feathers, however, than a new generation of lighter brown feathers grows on its neck and breast. This new set is never completed, because by early August the male is beginning to grow white feathers for the coming winter plumage. In mid-August, male ptarmigan are a patchwork of four sets of feathers: a few old winter feathers on the wings, new white feathers on toes and belly, and parts of the light spring and darker summer feathers.

    The willow ptarmigan is the largest of three “Arctic grouse” found in Alaska, which also include the rock and the white-tailed ptarmigan.

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Disney Bear Movie

    John C. Reilly gives voice to Disneynature's 'Bears'

    John C. Reilly will give voice to Bears.

    The actor will narrate Disneynature's true life adventure focusing on a bear family growing up in Alaska.

    "John C. Reilly is the voice of Wreck-It Ralph himself, he's sort of a bear of a man with both strength and mischief, and his voice reflects that," director Keith Sholey said in a statement. "He's very funny and has the ability to be empathetic, too, so he's a perfect fit for this story."

    Fellow director Alastair Fothergill (the two collaborated on African Cats) added: "The right narrator is so important to a Disneynature film. Alaska is a vast and powerful place and John C. Reilly has a big, broad voice that will aptly showcase the scope of Bears."

    Reilly said that he was "thrilled" to be part of the documentary not only because he found "bears fascinating."
    "Our National Parks are the home of many bears and need ongoing care," he added.

    The film showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two young cubs are taught life's most important lessons. The film opens April 18, 2014, in time for Earth Day.

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Goodall Quotes

    "Without tears in your eyes there is no rainbow in your heart.
    Together we can make this a better world for all."

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    State of Alaska

    1. Outsiders first discovered Alaska in 1741 when Danish explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering sighted it on a voyage from Siberia.
    2. Russian whalers and fur traders on Kodiak Island established the first settlement in Alaska in 1784.
    3. In 1867 United States Secretary of State William H. Seward offered Russia $7,200,000, or two cents per acre, for Alaska.
    4. On October 18, 1867 Alaska officially became the property of the United States. Many Americans called the purchase "Seward's Folly."
    5. Joe Juneau's 1880 discovery of gold ushered in the gold rush era.
    6. In 1943 Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands, which started the One Thousand Mile War, the first battle fought on American soil since the Civil War.
    7. Alaska officially became the 49th state on January 3, 1959.
    8. Alaska's most important revenue source is the oil and natural gas industry.
    9. Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States.
    10. The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times. 

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Fun Facts

    Sea Otters

    The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family. Their fur is made up of a dense underfur, ranging in color from brown to black, and longer guard hairs. The guard hairs can be brown to black to silver. Their hind feet are webbed to aid in swimming, and their front toes are short and stiff.

    Adult sea otters may grow up to 5 feet in length. The males weigh 80–100 pounds but can weigh more than 100 pounds. The females are smaller, weighing 50–70 pounds.

    Female sea otters reach sexual maturity at 2–5 years of age. Males become sexually mature at 4–6 years of age. Sea otters breed throughout the year, but in Alaska most pups are born in the late spring. Female otters give birth to one pup at a time. Pups are 3–5 pounds at birth and light brown in color. The pup generally rides on the mother’s chest as she swims on her back. A mother sea otter will not leave her pup unaccompanied except to dive for food. The pup is weaned after 3-6 months. By this time, it weighs approximately 30 pounds and appears almost as large as its mother.

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    Fast Facts

    Bald Eagles

    • Size
      The bald eagle is Alaska’s largest resident bird of prey with a wing span up to 7 1/2 feet (2.3 m) long and weights of 8 to 14 pounds (3.6-6.4 kg). Like many raptors, females are larger than males.
    • Range/Distribution
      Bald eagles are often found along Alaska’s coast, offshore islands, and Interior lakes and rivers. The highest nesting densities occur on the islands of Southeast Alaska. The total population is estimated at 30,000 birds.
    • Diet
      Fish are the main diet of the bald eagle. Eagles are opportunistic and also prey upon waterfowl, small mammals, sea urchins, clams, crabs, and carrion.
    • Reproduction
      In late April, two eggs are laid several days apart. Incubation lasts about 35 days. When the young hatch, the weaker, usually younger, chick is killed or starved. The surviving young leave the nest after approximately 75 days. 

    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Sand Dollar Facts

    Sand dollars

    1. Sand dollars live in…you guessed it! The sand. Typically, the species Dendraster excentricus is found close to shore in the low intertidal zone to as deep as 30 feet from Alaska to Baja California. (The low intertidal zone is the area close to shore that is usually covered with water except at very low tides.)

    2. For sand dollars, living right next to each other in very large groups or beds is the way to go. Sometimes there are neighborhoods of sand dollars that are several square feet (suburban dwelling) and others stretch for miles across the sandy ocean floor (urban dwelling).

    3.There are many species of sand dollars living around the world with a variety of common names including sea cookie and sand cake. Sand dollars also come in a variety of colors such as green, blue or black; the local California species, Dendraster excentricus, is purple.

    4. Sand dollars are members of the phylum Echinodermata, which means they are echinoderms and closely related to sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

    5. It’s hard to believe, but this flat and round-shaped creature is designed for burrowing in the sand. Their bodies are covered with tiny spines (similar to a sea urchin’s spines but super small) that they use to dig. Once they’ve burrowed into a good position sand dollars keep their butt end above the sand’s surface to capture food.

    6. The feeding strategy of sand dollars is fascinating. Their bodies are covered with tiny appendages to capture food particles small and large. Tiny cilia (extra small hairs) on the sand dollar’s spines sweep up small bits of food and tiny tube feet adeptly collect larger food pieces. Once food is caught the tiny appendages on the sand dollar work together to sweep food towards the mouth, which is located at the center of the five-petal flower pattern on bottom. The mouth has a five-toothed set-up called Aristotle’s lantern for chomping food. (Five pattern symmetry is a characteristic of echinoderms, sea stars have five arms, etc.)

    7. Sand dollars reproduce by spawning; male sand dollars release sperm and female sand dollars release eggs into the water during spring. Reproduction is assisted by sand dollars living so close together. Sand dollars begin their lives as larvae and go through several larval stages before developing skeletons and settling on the ocean floor as the first step to adulthood. An adult sand dollar is about three inches in diameter and lives approximately eight years.

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Bear Mythology

    The Bear Ritual of the Ainu

    The Ainu are an aboriginal hunter/gatherer/fisher people who once inhabited many of the islands that bound the southern half of the Sea of Okhotsk north of the main Japanese island of Honshu. There were Ainu populations, now extinct, who were on the Kurile islands. The few hundred Ainu who inhabited the southern half of Sakhalin Island were relocated to the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido at the end of World War II when Sakhalin became a territory of the recently defunct USSR. The origins of the Ainu have been a puzzle to physical anthropologists since they were first observed by Westerners in the late nineteenth century.

    The interest of the Ainu to us concerns the most spectacular element of their culture which served to call the Ainu to the attention of the Western world. The Ainu practiced an elaborate bear cult into the 1920s which immediately calls to mind the Paleolithic bear cult and the epiphany of the Great Goddess as Bear Mother. The Ainu captured a bear cub, nurtured it for months and then sacrificed it during an elaborate ritual. They are the only people to have retained a full fledged bear cult into the twentieth century and the Paleolithic elements are unmistakable; the Ainu are truly spectacular from a Western anthropologist's viewpoint.

    The bear in Ainu ritual is distinctly masculine and not the Great Goddess as Bear Mother. It would certainly be 'inappropriate' to sacrifice the Bear Mother who represents the Goddess as Life Giver. This Ainu bear is the earthly manifestation of the head of the mountain gods, Chira-Mante-Kamui; his bear form is his disguise when visiting the earth. The Ainu gods view humankind as equal to them. They wish to be on the best of terms with human beings because the offerings made during rituals reach the kingdom of the gods where they become the banquet items when the gods themselves hold festivals. The flesh and skin of the deity's disguise is the god's offering to humankind. The ritual surrounding the bear frees the god to return to his kingdom where the deities can enjoy the fruits of the ritual; those ritual 'fruits' magically increase when they reach the abode of the gods.

    The dead bear is placed before the altar, offerings are made to it and dances are performed. Festivities last for three days and nights. On the first night, to the left of the fireplace, a secret ceremony is performed called Keo-Mante, which means sending the dead body off. The brain, tongue and eyeballs are taken out of the skull and it is filled with flowers. This ceremony is held at midnight and it sends the Chira-Mante-Kamui's spirit back to his mountain heaven home. No women are allowed to take part in this particular ceremony. It is important to realize that these ceremonies do not involve making peace with the bear's spirit because it provided food for humans. Their relationship with a god is the primary focus of the ceremonies, not the mere acquisition of calories which mandates the placation of the animal spirit (Kindaichi 1949).

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Goodall Quotes

    "The more we learn of the true nature of non-human animals, especially those with complex brains and corresponding complex social behavior, the more ethical concerns are raised regarding their use in the service of man -- whether this be in entertainment, as pets, for food, in research laboratories, or any of the other uses to which we subject them."

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Alaska Salmon

    The Five Main Salmon

    Salmon is valued by its fat content, which always corresponds with richness in the mouth (though not invariably with best flavor). Here are the five major Pacific salmon varieties, listed in order of richness:

    King (chinook). The lushest fresh salmon, king is the highest in fat and usually the most expensive, prized for its silken, melting texture, which is almost like smoked salmon.

    Sockeye (red). With a deep, natural color, sockeye is lower in fat but still high overall, allowing the flavor to better come through. Many salmon lovers, including me, consider this the best salmon-eating experience.

    Coho (silver). A comer, according to Bill Webber and Thea Thomas, independent Cordovan fishermen. It’s already prized by sport fishermen for its fight, and soon, the Cordovans hope, by diners for its mild but distinctive flavor. The most widely available autumn fresh salmon.

    Pink (humpback). So delicate and pale that Thomas compares it to sole—which she does not mean as a compliment. She recalls a tasting for food writers at which many rated pink the highest. “How could they?” she asks. The likely answer: “A lot of these people had never had salmon in their life.”

    Chum (dog). Like pink, chum is fished in high numbers and is lower in fat than other varieties; when it spawns in intertidal waters, it doesn’t need to build up energy to swim upstream. Its roe, however, is the most valued of the five varieties, because of its size and flavor. After being strained and separated, the eggs make particularly good ikura— the fat, bright-orange pearls familiar in sushi rolls.

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Goodall Quotes

    "There are an awful lot of scientists today who believe that before very long we shall have unraveled all the secrets of the universe.  There will be no puzzles anymore.  To me it'd be really, really tragic because I think one of the most exciting things is this feeling of mystery, feeling of awe, the feeling of looking at a little live thing and being amazed by it and how its emerged through these hundreds of years of evolution and there it is and it is perfect and why."

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Bear Species of the World

    Bear Species of the World

     Read more about the habitat, diet, physical characteristics, behavior
    for each of the bear species.

    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    Bear Hugs

    A Big Bear Hug for Pamela Holien-Ridlen
    for sending us a dozen teddy bears to donate to the Haven House for our Bear Hugs Project.

    The project helps gather new and gently used teddy bears for abused children, men and women.  One of the rooms at the Haven House is called their 'safe room' in which the police and councilors talk with the abused victim to find out what happened to them.  During the interview with the children, they are allowed to choose a teddy bear to hold and hug.  This is in an attempt to give the child a feeling of safety and caring in hopes that the child will feel comfortable enough to tell the police what happened to them so the offender will be caught and charged for their horrible crime.  After the interview, the child is allowed to keep the teddy bear they were hugging and the child is then sent to a safe location to live with caring relatives or family friends that will care for and protect them.

     We noticed that during our tour of the Haven House they were terribly short of teddy bears.  In our community alone they say they go through 250 teddy bear per year.  Now just imagine how many teddy bears other Haven House organizations go through in larger communities.

     Anyone wishing to donate a teddy bear, feel free to find new or gently used teddy bears and bring them up to Alaska with you when you visit us or mail them to us.  We are also promoting people to donate teddy bears in their own community as well.  We are hoping this idea will spread to other areas and communities around the world.

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Friday Wolf Facts

    Fun Facts About Wolves
    1. In order for a new wolf cub to urinate, its mother has to massage its belly with her warm tongue.
    2. The Vikings wore wolf skins and drank wolf blood to take on the wolf’s spirit in battle. They also viewed real wolves as battle companions.
    3. The earliest drawings of wolves are in caves in southern Europe and date from 20,000 B.C.
    4. Wolves do not make good guard dogs because they are naturally afraid of the unfamiliar and will hide from visitors rather than bark at them.
    5. The autoimmune disease Systemic Lupus Erythmatosus (SLE), or lupus, literally means wolf redness, because in the eighteenth century, physicians believed the disease was caused by a wolf bite.
    6. Wolves are the largest members of the Canidae family, which includes domestic dogs, coyotes, dingoes, African hunting dogs, many types of foxes, and several kinds of jackals.
    7. Wolves run on their toes, which helps them to stop and turn quickly and to prevent their paw pads from wearing down.
    8. Wolves have about 200 million scent cells. Humans have only about 5 million. Wolves can smell other animals more than one mile (1.6 kilometers) away.
    9. A wolf pup’s eyes are blue at birth. Their eyes turn yellow by the time they are eight months old.
    10. A male and female that mate usually stay together for life. They are devoted parents and maintain sophisticated family ties.