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Starting this Friday, February 18 through Monday, February 21, Charlotte Nature Museum will be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Tens of thousands of avid birders across the nation will be counting birds and submitting their data to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and Audubon Society. We want to help Charlotte, NC regain its rank as the number one locality to submit checklists, so we are inviting you to join us!

The data collected from Charlotte Nature Museum combined with data collected around the nation provides a “real-time” snapshot of where birds are across the continent. The Great Backyard Bird Count allows scientists and bird enthusiasts to create a detailed picture of winter birds and their location. This activity is so important because ornithologists wo… Keep reading.

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Barred Owl

How much do you know about local wildlife and what they do to survive the cold season? Take the following quiz and test your knowledge (check back next week for the answers).

With Charlotte enduring one of the coldest winters on record we cannot help but wonder how local wildlife is faring. Some animals will migrate; others will hibernate, while others will stay around and find out how to stay warm well fed and safe during the cold winter months.

1. How do chipmunks spend the winter?
a. Migrate, they head south for warmer weather
b. Pupate, they metamorphose and form a pupa
c. Hibernate, they become inactive and go into a state of dormancy with a slower breathing and heart rate and a change in body temperature
d. All of the above

2. How do most insects survive the winter… Keep reading.

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Regular visitors to our Museum have no doubt seen or heard one of our four-legged visitors on the Paw Paw Nature Trail… a white-tailed deer.

The many deer you may have seen frequently enters and exits the Museum’s grounds of its own accord. Deer have a range of approximately two square miles and often seek refuge in areas providing shelter, food and water. The natural supply of nuts and woody material on the Paw Paw Nature Trail and nearby greenway, and the abundant water supply from Little Sugar Creek create an ideal habitat. The neighborhood surrounding the Museum has a significant white-tailed deer population with regular reports of sightings of individuals and groups in residential backyards.

Please resist the urge to feed the deer in your backyard or ours. This may be harmfu… Keep reading.

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In the corner of Butterfly Pavilion stands a densely-leaved tree with thorns, it doesn’t bloom, and often doesn’t gain much attention from our visitors. This unassuming tree is a Valencia orange tree donated to us eight years ago, by a former volunteer. If trees could talk, this one would share quite a tale… read on.

About thirty years ago, a juicy, sweet Valencia orange was purchased at a grocery store in Ohio. While eating it, the consumer wondered if the sweet seeds would grow into a tree if planted. So he decided to try it, planted the seeds in a pot, watered, watched and waited. Sure enough a seed sprouted and continued to grow on the man’s porch in a pot, surviving snowy winters surrounded with a plastic sheet and a heat lamp. After fifteen years in Ohio, the tropical tre… Keep reading.

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What if fish had legs and walked amongst the ocean dregs?
Would they wear blue jeans and shoes and run to spread the latest fish news?

What if flies had teeth and chomped bits of meat?
Would they floss with horse hair and brush with flowers?
Smiling and saying cheese on top of dung towers?

What if frogs had helping hands and croaked and clapped?
Would they paddle on lily pads and twiddle their thumbs while they sat?

What if boys and girls had fins and wings?
Or jumpers and little parts that sting?
Or maybe they squawk instead of talk?
Or maybe hop instead of walk?

Would they cackle like chicks or sting like bees?
Or would they be like crickets and have ears on their knees?

I don’t know friend but in the end legs or gills, hands or wings,
As you watch the moon that g… Keep reading.

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When observing living things we tend to spy the bigger things; animals with fur, feathers, scales and flitting tails or plants with showy flowers and sweet scents. But what about the little things that occupy the smallest of spaces? In one teaspoonful of dirt, there are millions of organisms that help make life possible.

E.O. Wilson said, “It is possible to spend a lifetime in a Magellenic voyage around the trunk of a single tree.” Inspired by Wilson’s writings and his work with others, the team at Charlotte Nature Museum is embarking on a voyage exploring life in Cubic Foot Communities around Charlotte. What do you think we may find in a cubic foot of earth extracted from the Paw Paw Nature Trail? What about in your backyard?…

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