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Murders, Bloats, etc.

Bayou-Diversity (25 February 2018) There is a very good chance that everyone reading this blog has witnessed a murder. The observation may have occurred in your own back yard. A murder, you see, is the collective term for a group of crows, as in, “a murder of crows just descended on my corn patch.” Many such archaic terms exist for animal congregations. Some seem to have a rational link to the species; others are outright bizarre. It begs the question: Who comes up with these words? In the bird world, examples include finches, a group of which is called a charm. Several owls are referred to as a parliament, a bunch of vultures is called a wake, and a few jays make up a scold. My f

Weather & Wildlife

Bayou-Diversity (18 February 2018) Spells of harsh winter weather occasionally disrupt the daily lives of people in Louisiana. Technological advancements in the last 100 years, however, minimize the impacts to a short period of inconvenience for most. Consider the differences now and during the Civil War era as described by a Confederate soldier. He wrote, “The last days of the year were rainy and disagreeable, and on the last night of 1863, the rain ceased, the wind blew almost a hurricane, turning the air most bitterly cold . . . There is not a man of the 18th who forgets the march on that New Year's day, up the river and thru Monroe. The wind came directly in their faces . . ., freez

Louisiana Herps

Bayou-Diversity (11 February 2018) Biologists often just call them herps, an abbreviated version of the term herpetofauna, meaning the reptiles and amphibians of a specific region. The herpetofauna of Louisiana is diverse because of our mild climate that is conducive to the well-being of cold-blooded animals, and because of our great variety of habitat types, from upland forests to brackish marshes. Reptiles include turtles, snakes, lizards, and the alligator. Amphibians comprise frogs, toads and salamanders. The two groups differ in significant ways. The skin of reptiles is covered in scales, and if they have feet they are tipped with claws. All Louisiana reptiles lay eggs with shells


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