Creature Feature: Golden-crowned Sparrow

Once upon a time, in a land far from people, a tiny egg cracked in its nest. Slowly, a small beak pushed through, delicately casting pieces of eggshell aside. It was followed by dark grey bulges that were closed eyes, and finally a floppy, mostly featherless and helpless body that weighed only 3 grams [1]….

Creature Feature: Coastal Cutthroat Trout

Fog rolls in one drizzly May morning on the Olympic Peninsula of northwestern Washington. The precipitation is somewhere between mist and rain, decreasing visibility to about a hundred feet in the temperate rainforest. The river is high, but still clear, and there is only one other car in the boat launch parking lot. May is…

Creature Feature: Whale barnacles

If you look closely at a photo of a southern right whale (Eubalaena australis), you’ll see that few animals accessorize quite like they do. Their crusty white ‘bonnet’ (which looks more like a mustache, if you ask me) complete with their classic goatee and cumulus eyebrows truly set them apart as charismatic megafauna. But what…

Creature Feature: Tammar wallaby

Got Milk? This phrase, while ubiquitous in magazine and television advertisements cheekily paired with milk-mustachioed celebrities, is also an easy way to distinguish mammals from other species. While the first mammal you may think of in response to this question is likely a cow, human, or maybe even a goat, one lesser-known (and arguably the…

Creature Feature: Kea

Many animals are afraid of humans, and with good reason. Then there is the kea (Nestor notabilis), a playful bird known for its intelligence, wild curiosity, and general disregard for the “stay away from humans” rule. This New Zealand native was named by the Māori people for its distinct call: a bright, high-pitched keee-aaa!

Creature Feature: Sea Cucumbers

What animal has no face, is named after fresh produce, resembles a flaccid turd, and can turn their bodies inside out when threatened? Well, if you guessed sea cucumbers (Class: Holothuroidea) you must be a fellow aficionado or… perhaps the title was a dead giveaway. Either way, these squishy marine invertebrates are unsung heroes of…

Creature Feature: Manatees

Many of us have slowed down our fast-paced lives during the pandemic, so it’s hard to recall how differently we lived last year. The morning grind to beat rush hour traffic, the hurried meal we scarfed down during our brief lunch break, the rushed exercise routine we somehow managed to squeeze in on our way…

Creature Feature: Aye-ayes

Primates are known for their behavioral diversity, but perhaps no primate is as bizarre as the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). Their black-grizzled fur, combined with bat-like ears, rodent-like incisors, and long middle finger, make them look quite spooky—right on time for Halloween!