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Creature Feature

At Annmarie Garden, nature and art live in harmony

Among art from the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons stand seven houses occupied by bluebirds.     Bluebirds are masterpieces in the world of gardening, both for their beauty and for their appetite for garden bugs. So Annmarie is more than happy to host them. To encourage the birds to add life to art in the garden, staff artists have hand-painted the houses. Baby bluebirds are now growing feathers amid the woven grasses and pine needles that make up bluebird nests.

To stop emerald ash borers, you’ve got to think like a bug

To stop a thief, you’ve got to think like a thief. To stop a bug, you’ve got to get more basic.     That’s what Maryland Department of Agriculture has learned in its 10-year effort to stop the inexorable march of the emerald ash borer.

Baby warthogs, prairie dog pups, small-clawed otters and zebra foals

Yes, panda infertility is a problem. But while we’re waiting for the experts to solve it, plenty of other babies are looking adorable in our regional zoos.

Avenue Q’s puppet actors are ready to steal the show

The human actors who’ll bring Avenue Q to the stage of Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre from July 5 to 29 are already hard at work. They’ll invest over 100 hours in the production before the high intensity of tech week begins June 28, according to Theatre president Carolyn Kirby. But, she says, you’ll hardly have eyes for them.

Please drive considerately

This time of year, you don’t have to join a herptile hunt to see Eastern box turtles (see Sandra Lee Anderson’s story: ). But you do have to drive carefully lest you squash one you didn’t see. Box turtles are crossing our roads — very slowly.     Habitat destruction is the primary culprit for the species’ decline. As once-rural areas continue to be developed and subdivided, automobile traffic increases on roads once less traveled.

Cole Bros. Circus pays for ­elephant mistreatment

Elephants that traveled with Cole Bros. Circus — which visits the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds this week — were so thin that the circus has been fined for bad care.     “The gravity of the violations herein is great and includes the repeated noncompliance with the regulations for veterinary care, handling and licensing,” a U.S. Department of Agriculture attorney wrote of the plight of Asian elephants Tina, Jewell and Boo.

Who’s who in the pecking order

The side porch of our home in northern Calvert County faces east. It’s a great place to have our morning coffee and feel the first warm rays of the sun. It’s also where my wife sets out the hummingbird feeders, so we get to watch the high-speed high jinks of these delicate little birds.

Rude Ranch Animal Rescue steps into the spotlight

With a nickname like The Best Little Cat House in Maryland, you might imagine that Rude Ranch earned its screen time on HBO. But Harwood’s unique no-kill shelter has won a prime spot on Animal Planet’s show Must Love Cats. The popular show features profiles of fascinating cats and the people who love them.     How did Rude Ranch get a feature? Through happenstance and the power of the Internet.

Fido has a TV channel

It’s tough being a dog. As we rush out the door for work, they get a quick pat on the head. Then you’re gone and Fido is home alone.     Fido now has his own TV channel to watch while you’re away.     That’s right. A television station, broadcast 24/7, just for the dogs.

Patuxent Wildlife Art Show screens movies with a message

For 23 years, the Friends of the Patuxent have raised funds for their beloved natural refuge by holding a weekend-long art show and sale. For 20 years, The Environmental Film Festival has raised awareness for the decline of the planet by screening green-themed films in the D.C. area. Three years ago the groups joined forces.