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Features (Creature Feature)

Even fur coats can’t keep pets warm

Baby, it’s cold outside. These record low temperatures are hard on all of us, people and pets. Puppies, kittens and shorthaired animals are especially vulnerable in cold weather.
    Keep your pets inside except for quick bathroom breaks. Both dogs and cats can get frostbite. Ears, tails and footpads are most susceptible.
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The Rufous Hummingbird makes another unseasonable appearance

Rufous hummingbirds travel great distances. The red-tinged birds’ migration takes them from their wintering grounds in Mexico and the southern United States to their breeding grounds in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Canada and southern Alaska.
    They breed farther north than any other hummingbird.
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Reindeer are perfectly suited to pull Santa’s sleigh

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, on Comet and Cupid, on Donner and Blixen.
    Why are reindeer the right choice for Santa to lead his sleigh on his annual voyage?
    Maneuvering through the middle of the night with a load of precious cargo for millions of girls and boys leaves no margin for error.
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Snowy Owls popping up all over

Is it a bird? A plane? A creature flown out of Harry Potter? Or a white paper bag frozen in a field?
    This year, it may be a snowy owl.
    The white bird with bright, yellow eyes, huge talons and a five-foot wingspan is usually a rare sight in Chesapeake Country. So rare that the first-ever snowy owl sighting and photo was recorded in Calvert County this week.
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Thanksgiving’s main course, from free to $6.75 a pound

The bird of the season is a turkey.    
        We Americans devour over 45 million turkeys and over 675 million pounds of turkey each Thanksgiving. That’s the big day, but not the only day, we eat the big bird. If you’re an average American, you eat 17.5 pounds of turkey every year. That’s more than even Uncle Max could eat in one day.
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Migrant waterfowl arriving in force

Species by species, flocks are arriving from their summer nesting and breeding homes in the north. Some fly our way from as far west as Alaska; others come from the Maritime Provinces of eastern Canada.
    Month by month since August, we’ve been visited by diving ducks: blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, shovelers, pintails and wood ducks, says Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Larry Hindman.
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Squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, deer and bear are making the most of fleeting time

It’s a wild world out there. The wildlife who live among us, often just at the verge of perception, may be their most active this time of year, mating and feeding up for winter, whether in woods or burrows.
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With fewer tree nuts than in recent years, squirrels are going crazy

I’m under attack. Everywhere I look, squirrels are scampering up trees, toting nuts in their mouths, scurrying across my yard and darting in front of my car.
    The word squirrel was borrowed by the Romans from the Greek word skiouros, which means shadow-tailed. Ancient Greek naturalists found their bushy tails remarkable.
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Body snatcher targets mud crabs

When it comes to horror, Mother Nature stands at the top of the class.
    Our Halloween Creature Feature comes from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, where scientists have a horribly resourceful parasite under their microscopes. With devilish ingenuity, it takes over its host’s reproductive system for its own replication.
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Man-made reef alive with seed spat

A new oyster reef lies alongside the Bill Burton Fishing Pier in the Choptank River. Sportsman and Maryland outdoors writer for nearly half a century, Burton retired from the Baltimore Evening Sun and came to Bay Weekly. Over 16 years with us, Burton became increasingly adamant and outspoken about restoring the Chesapeake.
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