America's Great Outdoors
Today and tomorrow are fee free days on all of America’s National Parks. We hope you can get out and enjoy them!Photo from Glacier Bay National Park courtesy of the National Park Service.

Today and tomorrow are fee free days on all of America’s National Parks. We hope you can get out and enjoy them!

Photo from Glacier Bay National Park courtesy of the National Park Service.

Here they come… welcome the first bison calves of 2014 to the National Bison Range Refuge in Montana! Weighing in at 40-50 pounds, these wee ones will stay red for a few months before turning brown. By the time we see them at the annual roundup in October, most will weigh between 250-350 pounds.

Photo: USFWS

Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The wild land that today is the refuge has not always appeared so wild. This is a land that was once heavily logged, burned, ditched, drained and cultivated. Despite repeated attempts, the soils and harsh conditions of this country would not provide a hospitable environment for sustained settlement and agriculture. So, nature claimed it once again. What was viewed as a loss by early 20th century entrepreneurs became a huge gain for the wildlife, natural resources and the people of Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. Photo: Dawn Kopp

Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The wild land that today is the refuge has not always appeared so wild. This is a land that was once heavily logged, burned, ditched, drained and cultivated. Despite repeated attempts, the soils and harsh conditions of this country would not provide a hospitable environment for sustained settlement and agriculture. So, nature claimed it once again. What was viewed as a loss by early 20th century entrepreneurs became a huge gain for the wildlife, natural resources and the people of Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. 

Photo: Dawn Kopp

Happy first week of spring!Photo of a bear in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge by Lisa Hupp (USFWS)

Happy first week of spring!

Photo of a bear in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge by Lisa Hupp (USFWS)

Here’s a great photo to end the week. Dennis Demcheck a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employee, snapped this great photo of a female Great Horned Owl nesting in a Live Oak tree. Here’s what he had to say about it. “She was ‘staring me down’ because she had eggs to protect. It was taken in southwest Louisiana in the Mermentau River Basin near the town of Thornwell.”

Here’s a great photo to end the week. Dennis Demcheck a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employee, snapped this great photo of a female Great Horned Owl nesting in a Live Oak tree. Here’s what he had to say about it. “She was ‘staring me down’ because she had eggs to protect. It was taken in southwest Louisiana in the Mermentau River Basin near the town of Thornwell.”

Who knew the Bison in Wind Cave National Park were nearsighted?Photo: National Park Service

Who knew the Bison in Wind Cave National Park were nearsighted?

Photo: National Park Service

Tom Turkeys are gobbling and strutting now as the courtship season begins in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You may encounter the birds displaying along park roadways, so please slow down and watch for wildlife—and other visitor’s cars stopped due to wildlife! Be especially cautious when going around blind curves. As this photo shows, sometimes the birds will display right in the center of the roadway… and they are NOT interested in moving out of your way anytime soon!The gobbles of male turkeys can be heard almost a mile away. When displaying, males droop their wings until the tips almost drag on the ground and spread their tails wide. Courtship season lasts from March until May.Photo: Displaying turkeys block US-441 between Gatlinburg and Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Tom Turkeys are gobbling and strutting now as the courtship season begins in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You may encounter the birds displaying along park roadways, so please slow down and watch for wildlife—and other visitor’s cars stopped due to wildlife! Be especially cautious when going around blind curves. As this photo shows, sometimes the birds will display right in the center of the roadway… and they are NOT interested in moving out of your way anytime soon!

The gobbles of male turkeys can be heard almost a mile away. When displaying, males droop their wings until the tips almost drag on the ground and spread their tails wide. Courtship season lasts from March until May.

Photo: Displaying turkeys block US-441 between Gatlinburg and Sugarlands Visitor Center.

David Bahr, Glacier Bay National Park’s 2013 Artist in Residence, will have one of his photos from his trip in Glacier Bay exhibited at the Smithsonian as a part of the “Wilderness Forever” public photography exhibit! Approximately 50 winning contest entries were chosen for display as large-format prints in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History for a 2014 exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. David’s image of an eagle won the wildlife photography competition for professional photographers. A stunning photo!

David Bahr, Glacier Bay National Park’s 2013 Artist in Residence, will have one of his photos from his trip in Glacier Bay exhibited at the Smithsonian as a part of the “Wilderness Forever” public photography exhibit! Approximately 50 winning contest entries were chosen for display as large-format prints in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History for a 2014 exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. David’s image of an eagle won the wildlife photography competition for professional photographers. A stunning photo!

Things you do not see every day: An otter preys on a alligator at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. The otter eventually pulled the alligator up on the bank and proceeded to consume it, as evidenced by crunching noises. They were no longer visible at that point, but the alligator was done resisting when dragged out of the water. Despite their disarmingly cute appearance, otters are the apex predator of many freshwater habitats.Photo: Geoff Walsh

Things you do not see every day: An otter preys on a alligator at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. The otter eventually pulled the alligator up on the bank and proceeded to consume it, as evidenced by crunching noises. They were no longer visible at that point, but the alligator was done resisting when dragged out of the water. Despite their disarmingly cute appearance, otters are the apex predator of many freshwater habitats.

Photo: Geoff Walsh

This wildlife camera in Zion National Park gives a whole new meaning to the term “selfie.”Photo: National Park Service

This wildlife camera in Zion National Park gives a whole new meaning to the term “selfie.”

Photo: National Park Service