Mandy Schmidt

The Everglades

The Everglades in southern Florida is truly remarkable. The vastness of these wetlands is impossible to get across with only works, and is something that needs to be experienced in person. The biodiversity in a ( ) is incredible and seems very habituated, or used to, having humans approach them in their habitat. Birds, alligators, turtles, and fish share their habitat so close with one another that it is never very difficult to get a meal. This is a habitat rich with life and is an excellent show of nature that is simply beautiful.

Bird Reflection

Of all the many different animal species on Earth, birds are arguably the most unique. Birds are interesting because of how the species can vary so widely. They fill every possible niche that can be thought of. There are birds of prey that are strictly carnivores and others that mainly consume mostly seed and fruit. Still others eat only insects. They vary in size dramatically. Some can fit in the palm of your hand and others larger than most humans. Also, they can fly, run, swim, dive, and some are awake during the day while others at night. In fact, one species of nocturnal bird can echolocate like bats and dolphins. They can be found on every continent, island, and are even flying above the open oceans. Clearly, birds are a successful group of animals.

It is not just the numerous different habitats and feeding patterns that make birds interesting however. But their actual behaviors also make them even more unique. First, most birds are monogamous, meaning that a single mother and father will stay together to raise their young. Sometimes, however, they will lay their eggs in another birdís nest of the same or different species so that a different mother and father will expend energy to raise their young. Some birds do elaborate courtships either through calls, feather pattern displays. Some build intricate nests and others perform extravagant dances to find a mate. IN a way, dance-off competitions can be originally attributed to birds.

Finally, one of the most amazing feats of birds, which is still not completely understood, is migration. Most different species of birds will form large flocks and fly closer to the Equator during colder times of the year in search of more plentiful food sources. Some will fly straight over the ocean and others will stop briefly on the mainland of islands. Many of these birds will fly thousands of miles before reaching their wintering destinations.

Obviously, birds in their many different shapes, sizes, and appearances, and with their varied patterns, songs, and behaviors, are a remarkable group of animals that are worth studying and protecting. They play vital roles to ecosystems around the world.




Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.