The better to hear you with? Not quite. The “ears” of long-eared owls are really funnels to their ear holes, which are totally covered by fluff. But their hearing is acute; the owl can capture its prey by using only its hearing. Photo: Joe147/ Creative Commons. See long-eared owls at Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Michigan, where cross-country ski and snowshoe trails are open: [ Bit.ly Link ]
Snow, photography and birding can mix beautifully, as demonstrted by Gerry Sibell from northern Minnesota. Blue jays are often seen on the edges of forests. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping to spread oak trees during the last glacial period. Thanks to The Naturalist’s Notebook Facebook for photo: [ Bit.ly Link ]
Find national wildlife refuges in Minnesota: [ Bit.ly Link ]
The season's first group of black-footed albatross chicks was spotted on January 16 at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge ([ Bit.ly Link ]. Follow the Friends of Midway Atoll Refuge Facebook page ([ Bit.ly Link ] to get updates about new chicks over the next few weeks. Photo by Mikiala Taylor, USFWS.
Just gotta scratch that itch! Bison will use anything – including the ground, as captured by photographer Justin Judd Rankin at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge ([ Fws.gov Link ] in Iowa.
Thanks to everyone for great captions. Winner of this week’s Caption Call is Renee Tressler with her news-related entry: “The circus is going out of business soon, so why are we trying out?”

Hope you all will look for the next Caption Call on Tuesday!
Bald eagles are more than America’s national symbol. They are the nation’s passion. Removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007, bald eagles are found across America. And that’s exactly the title of our great online feature story: [ Bit.ly Link ]
Photo taken by Jim Leonard at Oregon’s Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge ([ Bit.ly Link ]
Is this northern cardinal shivering cold? Please read the explanation.
Caption Call! Give us your best caption for these trumpeter swans at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge ([ Bit.ly Link ] in Missouri. Winner announced tomorrow.
Thanks to DES Wildlife Photos ([ Bit.ly Link ] for the image.
If you don’t try, you’ll never fly!
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” – quote by Dr. Martin Luther King

Photo taken by Pat Gaines at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM: [ Fws.gov Link ]
Refuge bird festivals pack big natural thrills. See for yourself. Refuge bird festivals 2017: [ Fws.gov Link ]
Festival of the Cranes, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, AL. Photo: Steve Minor, Share the Experience
East of the Rockies, monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico in the fall. Quivira Refuge in Kansas, Neal Smith Refuge in Iowa, and St. Marks Refuge in Floriida time annual monarch festivals to coincide with that migration. Where do western populations of monarch butterflies go? Some overwinter along the California coast. Pay them a visit. [ Fws.gov Link ] Photo: Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS
Hey, aren’t you supposed to be sleeping? Not really. Skunks don’t hibernate in winter. They slow down but leave their dens from time to time to search for food. Striped skunk, Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge, OR: [ Fws.gov Link ] Photo courtesy of Dan Dzurisin/Flickr Creative Commons
A great way to get your feet wet, so to speak, and try out birding: Beginner Bird Tours – Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 am all month long at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida [ Fws.gov Link ]
(Wading birds. Photo: Connie Foreman)
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle calls the marine national monuments “hope spots” for ocean health. See why: [ Fws.gov Link ]
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration co-manage four marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Atlantic.
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (Photo: James Watt)
“Hey! Over here! Throw me the salmon! Over here!” Congrats to Lasete Nunes for the winning caption.
2nd place: “After further review, the play stands as called: Touchdown, Clemson!” Thanks, Mike Hennessy
And thanks to you all for your fun entries for this brown bear at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska ([ Fws.gov Link ]. Photo: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
CAPTION CALL! This photo of a brown bear at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska ([ Fws.gov Link ] deserves a clever caption. Got one? We’ll announce a winner tomorrow. (Photo: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS)
Keep an eye out for stranded sea turtles on Pacific Northwest beaches this winter, asks the Service’s Pacific region. Storms can push turtles north into colder waters, where they may weaken. Once stranded, sick and injured sea turtles need quick attention to survive. More: [ Bit.ly Link ] Photo: USFWS
“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”
~ William Wordsworth

Photo: Lighthouse at sunrise over Florida’s St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge ([ Bit.ly Link ] by Alex Armitage