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.

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