The Spotted Owl just can’t get a break. Endemic to old-growth forests in the Pacific North west, the endangered owl’s population was already declining due to deforestation, but now they have been forced to accommodate an inconsiderate guest: Barred Owls. Native to the eastern half of North America, the Barred Owl’s territory has been expanding westward since the turn of the last century.
This past February, a very unusual Northern Cardinal was spotted in Erie, Pennsylvania. Its right side is brilliantly red, while its left side is a modest brown, with both sides perfectly split down the middle. The reason for the color split is remarkable; the left side is biologically female, while the right side is biologically male. Genetically, the two halves are as closely related as brother and sister.
Turkey vultures, also known as turkey buzzards, are a common sight throughout the state of Virginia. As one of the most widespread birds in the western hemisphere, their range extends west to California and south to the tip of South America. Turkey vultures are often seen gliding on thermals, buoyed by a wingspan that can reach up to seven feet.