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Creature Feature

Calvert Marine Museum chips away at 58 million years

Persistence pays off. That’s the case with retired farmer Bernard Kuehn of Accokeek.     After 30-plus years combing the stream bed running through his farmland for fossilized sharks’ teeth, Kuehn hit the jackpot this month.     He discovered the soft-shell turtle fossil that lived over 58 million years ago in the Paleocene epoch.

Help stomp out Emerald Ash Borers and Hemlock Wooly Adelgids

You don’t want to know the hemlock wooly adelgid. The invader — no bigger than a period — is terrorizing towering trees, both hemlock and spruce.     These pests threaten to wipe out eastern hemlock forests, a loss that could be as dreadful as the loss of American chestnuts. The bug is loose in half the evergreen’s geographic range, 11 eastern states from Georgia to Massachusetts.

Cats (and dogs) in black (and white)

“It’s kitten season.” So writes kitten foster mother Cathryn Freeburger of Prince Frederick. “I have a houseful, as every foster does, and every rescue group is overwhelmed with calls.”     Filling her house is a family born the morning after Mama was turned in at a Baltimore County shelter. Mama Zaura is getting friendlier every day; only a year old herself but a good mother. At the milk bar are Zebulon, the only boy, and Zanna, tucked under mama’s chin; plus Zoe (white feet) and Zafira.

Foraging in the woods, these piggies eat a diet good for them — and us

Mothers are the source of life, as Cleopatra the sow, feeding her seven March-born piglets, illustrates. Now thriving at two months old, the piglets are no longer nursing, instead eating the special recipe of local barley, sorghum, field peas and whey served by P.A. Bowen Farmstead.

To an osprey, I’m the paparazzi

Living on the Chesapeake Bay allows me to play in the playground of osprey. These beautiful birds, also known as sea hawks, are creative in where they make their homes.     Many people on the Chesapeake are such lovers and advocates for osprey that they build nesting stations in hopes that a family will move in. Just down the river from my home is one such nesting station. I went to take photos, but the osprey parent was very protective of the little ones. Screaming at me in protest, she expanded her wings in hopes of intimidating me.

Canine Companions for Independence are half dog, half angel

Walking through downtown Annapolis, you may have seen puppies training to be service dogs. They seem special, with their colorful vests and ability to go into stores.     They are working to be selected for a special job, one that — in the words of Nancy Patterson who is part of a human-dog team — allows a “person to return to or begin a life of independence.”

Help give their migration a future

Since the last Ice Age, monarch butterflies have followed the path of the glaciers in their annual migration. The orange and black creatures are more fragile than the magnolia blossoms now in their short season. Yet in September, tens of thousands of monarchs fly from the midlands of the United States all the way to southern Mexico.

See them again this year on the Osprey Cam

After wintering in sunny South or Central America, Audrey and Tom osprey have traveled thousands of miles to return to the shores of the Chesapeake.     Since their live video debuted last year on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Osprey Cam, Audrey and Tom are becoming household names. Viewers from all 50 states and 110 countries watched last summer as the pair built their nest, laid eggs, raised and fledged chicks. Then viewers waved goodbye as the pair and their chicks headed south for the winter.

Shop New American Beagle ­Outfitters

Do you look like your dog?         Do you want to?     French bulldogs, hairless Chinese cresteds, pugs and chugs may give their human companions second thoughts on cultivating the legendary cross-species resemblance.     Dressing like your dog, and vice versa, may be a better option. That’s the apparent thinking behind American Beagle, the dress-alike campaign debuted this month by American Eagle Outfitters, the niche retailer of casual clothing for the 15- to 25-year-olds.

Are you listening?

If the unusually chill nights of February and early March 2014 kept you fireside, you may have missed the first peeping of spring. Last weekend’s warming temperatures opened human ears, frog throats — or both. The peepers are calling from a wetland near you. If you haven’t heard them yet, you soon will.