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Black-Footed Ferret

The black-footed ferret is the only ferret native to the Americas. They were once considered extinct in the wild until a small isolated population was discovered in Wyoming in 1981. In 1987, the last 18 wild ferrets were captured to establish a captive breeding program. Five hundred black-footed ferrets are now estimated to be alive in the wild, after reaching around 1,000 individuals at the end of the 2000s.

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Columbia Spotted Frog

Until recently, it was thought that the Columbia spotted frog hibernated during the winter under mud. However, researchers have found that frogs are active through the winter under the ice.

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Northern Harrier

Northern Harriers are the most owl-like of hawks, though they are not related to owls. The disk-shaped face looks and functions much like an owl’s, with stiff facial feathers helping to direct sound to the ears. They rely on hearing and vision to capture prey, with its owlish face helping it hear mice and voles beneath the vegetation.

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Karner Blue Butterfly

Karner blue larvae have a symbiotic relationship with ants. Ants collect a sugary secretion from Karner blue larvae and in return, tend to the larvae and protect them from predation.

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American Burying Beetle

The minimum carrion size for breeding purposes is small birds or mammals. Beetles will fight over highly desirable carcasses until one dominant male and female American burying beetle remain. Together they bury the carcass using secretions to preserve it.

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Bobolink

The species name of the bobolink, oryzivorus means “rice eating” and refers to this bird’s appetite for rice and other grains, especially during migration and in winter. One of the most impressive songbird migrants, traveling some 12,500 mi/20,000 km to and from southern South America every year. A migrating bobolink can orient itself with the earth’s magnetic field, thanks to iron oxide in bristles of its nasal cavity and in tissues around the olfactory bulb and nerve. Bobolinks also use the starry night sky to guide their travels.

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Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Sonoran Desert tortoises eat a wide variety of wildflowers, grasses and cacti. However, they will also occasionally eat insects, especially when young. Some have even been observed scavenging road-kill lizards. Additionally, Sonoran Desert tortoises eat soil with calcium carbonate for nutrients.

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Baird’s Sparrow

Baird’s sparrows were recently discovered breeding in the grassland prairie of northeastern Colorado. They typically breed hundreds of miles away in northeastern Montana, western North Dakota, and southern Canada. This discovery means the species can successfully colonize and nest in a different location and habitat than it has in the past.

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Mojave Desert Tortoise

Desert tortoise eggs and young are prey for many species, including Gila monsters, snakes, raptors, skunks, kit foxes, and coyotes. Ravens can cause a substantial decline in desert tortoise populations, especially near developed areas. However, once a desert tortoise reaches adulthood, predation risk is far lower and annual survivorship surpasses 90%.

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