Creature Feature: American black bear

We’re about to finish checking our bird traps at Tioga Pass when I spot it– a moving black lump in the upper right hand corner of my eye. We freeze.  “Holy–” I say. “Is that…?” I slowly raise my binoculars. It is. Standing on a boulder, huffing its huge steaming snout in the morning air,…

Field Notes: Four Field Perspectives

Field biology is almost always a team endeavor. Field crews often include people with different levels of experience and biological backgrounds—and each member brings something valuable to the team, from budding young scientists to experienced researchers. Going into the Summer of 2022, my second field season researching Spotted Sandpipers (Actitis macularius), I was nervous ….

Field Frame Friday: Where’s the beef? Being social!

Beef cattle are social creatures! They form complex social groups and hierarchies made up of close companions and individual acquaintances. Next time you are observing cattle grazing or driving through some pastures, check out their herd structures! [Photo and caption by Alycia Drwencke] Sowell, B. F., Mosley, J. C., & Bowman, J. G. P. (1999,…

Field Frame Friday: We all like a well-groomed friend

Grooming rituals are very common in macaques. Grooming not only keeps monkeys healthy, but it also reinforces social structures and bonds between animals. In this photo, a male macaque named Mario is grooming a female macaque named Gao-luck. [Photo and caption by Nalina Aiempichitkijkarn] Reference: Henazi, S. P., & Barrett, L. (1999). The value of…

Creature Feature: Wolf Spider

It’s getting closer to her. Subtle vibrations run up her brown legs, and the starlit flashes of the cricket’s movement reach her eight night-vision eyes. But she can’t strike yet. Too early, and the slender cricket will jump away with its powerful rear legs. Too late, and the cricket will discover her and change course….

Field Notes: Monkey Identification

I study a group of free-ranging long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Wat Khao Tamon, a Buddhist temple in the south of Thailand. I primarily focus on their social behavior, and my current project looks at relationships between their social behavior and the likelihood of contracting a tuberculosis infection. Tuberculosis is a deadly airborne respiratory disease…

Field Frame Friday: Mom’s Milk

This beef calf, with her mom hanging out closely in the background, will stay with her for multiple months on pasture before she gets weaned. Weaning is the process where her mother will not allow her to drink milk from her teats any more. This naturally happens around 6 months of age! [Photo and caption…