Conservation of Wildlife Habitats

Conservation of Wildlife Habitats

Conservation of wildlife habitats is nothing new it is simply the idea that we can protect animals, plants and the habitats that they live in.  We want our children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy the natural world just as we have.  Protecting wildlife is important but to do that you need to understand how plants and animals interact within the areas they live, how delicate the ecosystems are and how humans can damage these ecosystems.  Let’s take a closer look at how we are impacting wildlife and why it needs to be protected.

Pollution in the Ecosystem

In an ecosystem you will find the producers of food (plants and prey animals), the consumers of food and the decomposers.  When animals eat plants or other prey animals they absorb all of the nutrients and chemicals from the prey as well.  In a perfect world that isn’t a problem, but when there is pollution left behind then they absorb the toxins as well.  As you go along the chain of predator and prey the amount of toxins becomes more concentrated and this is referred to as bioaccumulation.  Pollution can have disastrous effects, everything from low birth rates to the extinction of a species.

The Effects of Climate Change

Plants and animals are affected by annual events, birds fly south when it gets cold, animals hibernate and flowers bloom.  These events are triggered by the weather patterns, temperature, sunlight and precipitation.  Climate change is slowly increasing temperatures and this has directly impacted the local plant and animal life.  For instance, flowers are blooming earlier and birds are changing their flying patterns.  All of this has a direct impact on the food chain within an ecosystem.  Here is a look at how climate change is affecting wildlife.

Urban Sprawl

Animals in the wild are migratory, the travel looking for food, water, shelter and to mate.  In most case they can do all of this within a fairly small radius but other travel great distances.  Butterflies, birds, wolves are examples of animals that travel large distances throughout their lives.   Because of human development their natural habitats and migratory patterns are threatened or at the very least interrupted.  Animals are forced into smaller environments and this threatens the gene pool of a number of species and the biodiversity of an ecosystem.

What Can We Do

There are many steps we can take but they all start with getting involved.  You can do things at home like reducing your carbon footprint and encouraging natural habitats in your own backyard.  You can get involved with conservation organizations that work with NGOs to protect the wildlife habitats.

What is a Grouse?

What is a Grouse?

What is a grouse?  Simply put a grouse is a type of bird, there are roughly 18 different types of grouses that you can find in the wild but they do share some commonalities.  The type of grouse you are probably most familiar with is the ruffed grouse.  The Ruffed grouse is mostly a ground dwelling bird although if being chased by predators they can take flight for short distances.  Let’s take a closer look at the Ruffed grouse and how they live.

Physiology

The ruffed grouse is not very large, from the tip of their beak to the tip of their tail they are a little over a foot long and weigh slightly more than a pound.  The have pretty short life spans with most of them not surviving the first year.  If they get past the first year most will only live 2 or 3 years.  It is a game bird that looks a lot like a chicken.  You may have heard your hunter friends refer to it as a partridge or a wood pheasant.  The Latin name for this particular species of bird is the “bonasa unbellus” which literally means…good when roasted.  While they do look a bit like chickens their coloring will be different, it will take on the color of the environment to help keep it safe from predators.

Natural Environment

You will find the ruffed grouse mostly among fairly thick brush and it is for the most part a ground dweller.  These birds are fast and flexible and if chased by a predator they will take to the air for short spurts of flight.  They also climb the branches and stems of trees, even the thinnest ones.  Their diet consists of leaves and buds of common trees like alders, birch and poplars.

Grouse mate in the spring and the mating ritual can be a little odd.  The male grouse climbs on top of a stump, log or rock and starts beating it wings.  The start off slowly and then start flapping faster which creates a drumming sound.  This “drumming” serves two purposes, first it will attract females and the second purpose is to scare off other males from the area.

Where They Live

You can find ruffed grouse throughout deciduous forest from Alaska in the north all the way down to Georgia in the south.  These birds don’t migrate, rather they stay within the same couple of acres for their entire world.