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Ferruginous Hawk

During the breeding season, Ferruginous hawk nests are not easily woven together for tree nesting, so they often build on the remains of pre-existing hawk or crow nests, or on the ground on a rocky outcrop.

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Eastern Meadowlark

There are up to 17 subspecies of eastern meadowlark including the isolated Lillian’s meadowlark, which is found in Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. Where eastern and western meadowlarks overlap in the Central Plains, they rarely hybridize or share territories. Although they look very similar, their songs sound completely different, and they will fight to defend their territories from one another.

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Cassin’s Sparrow

Cassin’s sparrow populations can fluctuate widely each year in both abundance and geographic extent, likely in response to summer precipitation. Within the center of their breeding range, they may be highly abundant or scarce, while individuals may suddenly appear at the edge of their breeding range where they do not usually occur. There are several hypotheses to explain these fluctuations, but little evidence to support any of them.

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Crested Caracara

At times, two crested caracaras will pair up to take on larger prey, like rabbits. When a caracara feeds on roadkill, it is dominant over vultures, oftentimes scaring them away. They have flatter talons than most raptors allowing running on the ground more efficiently.

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Northern Leopard Frog

Northern leopard frogs get their name from the leopard-like spots on their backs and limbs. Each spot is dark brown with a lighter “halo” around it. There are two color variations. One, called the burnsi phase, has a solid, spotless back and spots or bars on the legs. The other, called the kandiyohi phase, is mottled across the back and side.

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Gunnison’s Prairie Dog

Gunnison’s prairie dogs are found in both montane and prairie habitats, yet mountain ranges separate portions of their range, preventing individuals from moving between montane and prairie habitats.

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Plains Leopard Frog

Females lay up to a few thousand eggs from spring to early fall in temporary or permanent water sources, including ponds, flooded areas, marshes, and sloughs, often in muddy water. Tadpoles that hatch early will become young frogs by summer, while those from later clutches spend winter as tadpoles and become frogs the following spring.

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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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