The Woodchuck hole where it is hibernating for the winter. The woodchuck's burrow, then, is the center of its home range and the focus of much of its efforts and work. Burrows are usually found in sloped, well drained sites. They can be up to five feet deep and over thirty feet long. Typically, the burrow's entrance leads into a steeply angled passage which quickly levels off into a longer, narrower tunnel. The den is found off of this central tunnel and contains both a nest and an excrement chamber. The nest functions as a brood chamber, sleeping chamber, and as a hibernaculum. It is lined with soft grasses for both warmth and comfort. The burrow will have a main entrance around which the tunneled dirt is piled. It will also have "spy holes", or smaller, more concealed entrances out of which the woodchuck can look across its home range or in an emergency rapidly exit or enter the burrow. The soil from the digging of these spy holes is carried to the dirt midden of the main entrance to minimize the visibility of these less "public" holes. The burrows are extremely beneficial to the soil ecosystem. They generate gravitational water channels and extensive aeration passages through the soil profile. They also provide widely utilized habitats for other animals in these ecosystems. Rabbits, opossums, raccoons, skunks and foxes all use abandoned woodchuck burrows for dens and refuges. These burrows, though, can also be a serious problem for larger, grazing animals. The larger entrances, the hidden burrow openings, and the weakend soil structure over the tunnel systems can be serious hazards for larger animals especially when they are running across the surface of the soil.
Juncos are the "snowbirds" of the middle latitudes. Over most of the eastern United States, they appear as winter sets in and then retreat northward each spring. Some juncos in the Appalachian Mountains remain there all year round, breeding at the higher elevations. These residents have shorter wings than the migrants that join them each winter. Longer wings are better suited to flying long distances, a pattern commonly noted among other studies of migratory vs. resident species. (Cornell)
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.