Friday, February 25, 2011

New Work at the Nature Connection

I'm proud to announce that I'm the featured artist at the Nature Connection for the months of March and April. The opening reception will be the March Art Hop, Friday, March 4th from 5-9pm.

I'm unveiling a new series of photographs, including the "Holy Buck", a glorious picture of a 9 point buck in front of a church (the photo reminds me of the Jagermeister logo), the rough-legged hawk pictured above, a beautiful shot of a doe on an old railroad bed, a little carolina wren, and many others, including a few favorites from my show at Water Street Coffee Joint last Fall.

I'd also like to mention that nearly all the animals were photographed in Kalamazoo, making the majority of the animals truly "native". This is a continuation of my urban wildlife theme that began years ago with my wildlife documentary, ANIMALS AMONG US.

So come on down this Friday for some good cheer, conversation, and of course, the splendor of the natural world.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Hot Months of Winter

For wildlife organizations, Valentines Day is an opportunity to shed light on the mating habits of animals: how the wild things hook up, mate, "love" one another (although the scientific ilk will shy away from the word) and stay together - or not. And for good reason, it's pretty intriguing stuff.

In our own neck of the woods, this final stretch of winter is actually a hot period for a number of species. Fox and coyote are pairing up and mating; the coyote being a little later than fox. And with their sex-drives engaged, I'm hoping to exploit their lust and lure some in for a photo by impersonating a female (this is done vocally - not visually). Howl like a female in estrus and a male just might come running in.

Another notorious winter breeder/nester is the great horned owl, pairing up in January/February. Although the screech owl is a little later in March, I included a photo of a lone male who moved into a friend's wood-duck box. He's waiting for a female to come along in search of a mate with a home. I think this guy's got it going on; I Hope she finds him.

Monday, February 14, 2011


A model of a blue whale's heart.

Speaking of Valentines Day...

Matters of the Heart
Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011 by eNature
Blue Whale spouting
Blue Whale spouting
© Bud Lehnhausen

Think those heart-shaped boxes of Valentine’s chocolates are impressive? Compared to the size of a human heart perhaps. But a whale’s heart dwarfs even those samplers that require weightlifters to hoist them.

Picture a heart the size of a car. That’s what a Blue Whale possesses—a heart that deserves its own parking space. And how does a heart like that pump? Very slowly. In fact, a Blue Whale’s heart beats just five or six times per minute when the whale is at the surface and even slower when the animal dives. A human heart, by contrast, typically beats seventy times per minute at rest. And a hummingbird’s heart, for even greater contrast, beats five hundred times per minute at rest and more than a thousand times per minute when the bird flies.

But don’t underestimate the little hummingbird. Its heart is the largest proportionally of any animal. Whereas the average mammal’s heart comprises less than 1 percent of its total body weight, a hummingbird’s heart can be more than twice that figure. For a Blue Whale, that’s the equivalent of a two-car garage.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Canoeing The Kazoo - After The Storm

The first full day following Snowpocalypse in Kalamazoo was all sun and beautifully crisp and cold, with temperatures down around 5ยบ or so. A perfect day to canoe the Kalamazoo River. Which is what I did last week.

And the river was absolutely beautiful. She offered up a bevy of exciting sightings, including a couple of firsts for me photographically.

There were eagles everywhere, including many juveniles - testament to the return of the eagle to our area.

I was finally able to photograph pileated woodpeckers, after countless attempts along the shore of the river.

I saw, and photographed, my first red-shouldered hawk. A beautiful bird.

An extraordinary day was capped off with an unexpected end and exit. I put in at Mosel Avenue and canoed up to Plainwell. But just upstream of the Plainwell dam, the river had frozen over completely from the impact of the blizzard. So I had to navigate a somewhat harrowing escape from an ice jam and make my way to the bank where I hauled out my canoe and had to call a friend to come pick me up in his truck.

It was one of those moments when you get glimpses of what it would be like if something were to go really wrong. Fortunately, I was well prepared, including hip high waders that enabled me to wade out through large chunks of floating ice and even use the bow of my canoe to break though the barrier of ice all along the banks.

When my friend arrived, we had to drag my canoe through a horse pasture in the dark. It was truly a bizarre experience.

I suspect the icing was due in part to the slowing of the river by the dam. I had never heard nor expected such a thing. For this and many other reasons, it made me want to remove all dams from all rivers. Let the river flow and run it's course, so I can run mine!