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Creature Feature

After an active spring, the native mosquito populations
are naturally declining. But not the Asian tiger mosquito.

A rainy March and April kept mosquito slappers busy.     “We had populations in larger numbers than expected this spring,” says Mike Cantwell, chief of Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Mosquito Control Program. “High rainfall brought out exceptionally large broods of woodland species. But these are single-generation species. Once they’re done, you don’t see them until next year.”

Download your widget and find out who’s out there

You may need to get down on your hands and knees for this one.         And you will definitely need your computer or smart phone.     Bee counting has gone hi-tech.

Disneyland Mousers get housing, food, health care — and a job

The cat’s out of the bag. And Calvert’s feral cats may be out of a home.         After nine mostly quiet years, Calvert County’s feral cat sanctuary is roiled by the national debate on birds vs. feral cat colonies. Now the county is divided over whether the managed population of cats should be allowed to stay on the county-owned tree farm in Prince Frederick — or be kicked out to fates unknown.

While they don’t bite, mosquito-like giants do pester

First it was the invasion of the stinkbugs that had Bay Country residents bugged. Those pests have, for the most part, left our homes for the outdoors — unfortunately to eat their way through summer crops. But that’s another story.     Now it’s another flying insect driving some of us nuts.

Five Smithsonian cheetah cubs thriving

For five cheetah cubs born May 28 at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., the first doctor’s visit was a house call.     In mid-June, Smithsonian biologists spent a few minutes examining the two-pound furballs — and happily reported all five cubs to be healthy and active.
Each year, thousands of citizens report their bird sightings to the Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running citizen science project in the world. This year researchers are hoping that citizens will take this bird sighting zeal from land to sea.

Preparing for disasters natural and unnatural

The zombies are coming!         Well, maybe.         Actually, not likely.    

June 1’s full moon begins the season

Love is in the air — and on Bay beaches — as love-struck horseshoe crabs begin their annual mating ritual.     These ancient marine arthropods — despite their name, they are not crustaceans — respond to the pull of the moon and spring tides to procreate. Their spawning peaks during evening tides over three to four days centered on the full new moon dates.

The Postal Service sinks its teeth into a worthy cause

The Postal Service is sick and tired of dogs monitoring the mail. Last year 5,669 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 1,400 cities throughout the U.S.     The problem is bigger than puppies going postal.     Each year dogs take a bite out of 4.7 million non-postal Americans, most of whom are children. The problems range from pets not properly contained to over-anxious watchdogs.

Turtles, like people, benefited from William Donald Schaefer’s beach-bound determination.

Back in 2001, I joined the Severn River Association in arguing a tidal wetlands case before the Board of Public Works. We were trying to convince the regulators that a living shoreline would be better than a rock revetment on one of the last remaining natural shorelines along the Severn. To make our case, we came armed with school children and turtles.