The Corgi & the Cataract

The Corgi & the Cataract by Taylor Nicole Featherstone

This photo from one of the many waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula was sent in by a fan last March. I’m hoping that those of you with furry friends are finding ways to keep them (and yourself!) happy & fit.

You can check out more at Featherstone Fotography on Facebook & keep up with the Adventures of Darwin + Charles on Facebook. And definitely follow her on Instagram @oureveolvingadventure!

A Squirrel’s Eye View

Fox Squirrel in Ann Arbor University of Michigan

Fox Squirrels in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan on a Quiet Day by Corey Seeman

Corey is one of my favorite members of the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr, which is the place where most of the photos on Michigan in Pictures come from. For over a decade, Corey has been telling stories through his photographs of the squirrels on the University of Michigan campus. For his latest entry he writes about a subject close to all of us:

Fox Squirrels in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan on a Quiet Day – March 19th, 2020

So much to unpack here. With COVID-19 essentially shutting down campuses all across America and the world, there are few normal days to be had. I have been going into the office a few times just to make sure that things are still standing. Most of my work is at home.

But the one part of my life that is sadly missing at home are the squirrels. I normally use it as a social exercise – handing out peanuts to strangers so they can feed the squirrels. That part is gone in the world of social distancing. I keep at least enough room for the Holy Spirit to drive a car between me and anyone I am with.

On my recent day in the office (Thursday March 19th, 2020), I walked around just a bit. On the sad side, I saw a squirrel on the Diag who was either sick, fallen, or had been attacked, struggling to drink water and eat. I did see one – who might have been a momma – living inside Michele Oka Doner’s 2009 bronze casted statue “Angry Neptune, Salacia and Strider.” She seems to have an infected eye – I hope it gets better. I wish the squirrels at my home were nearly this friendly. But in the grand scheme of things – there is so much more to wish for.

Be safe everyone – we will get through this. Sending love and virtual hugs from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Pictures from the University of Michigan on Thursday March 19th, 2020.

Be safe indeed, and love & virtual hugs to you all! Check out Corey’s University of Michigan (2020-) set on Flickr and if you need even more squirrels, Michigan in Pictures has you covered!

New Wolves Released at Isle Royale

Little Hawk Island Sunset, photo by Carl TerHaar

mLive reports that a pair of new wolves have been released on Isle Royale in an effort to control a exploding moose population that threatens to overwhelm one of Michigan’s most unique ecosystems.

Late Wednesday, two gray wolves were taken from the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota and taken aboard a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plane to the island.

The wolves, a 4-year-old female and a 5-year-old male, were taken to separate release sites, and well away from the island’s two remaining wolves.

“It did not take long for the female to leave the crate and begin exploring her new home on the island. The male left his crate after dark,” the NPS said in a release.

“Other wolves will join the two in the coming weeks.”

Up to 30 wolves are expected to be caught in Minnesota, Michigan’s U.P. and even Ontario, Canada as part of this relocation effort.

Click through for more and their awesome video of the release!

Carl took this in late September of 2009. View it background big and see more in his massive Isle Royale album.

PS: Get an idea of the sheer amazingness of Isle Royale with 350+ more photos from Isle Royale in the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr at the Isle Royale tag on Michigan in Pictures, and at the  Isle Royale National Park website!

Happy World Turtle Day from Phillip the Box Turtle!

Phillip the Box Turtle, photo by Kevin Povenz

May 23rd is World Turtle Day, created by the good people at American Tortoise Rescue to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

Every year I’m happy to report that one of the most popular features on Michigan in Pictures remains Know Your Michigan Turtles that I wrote back in 2013 and have added to through the years with photos and articles about every one of Michigan’s 10 native turtle species including Eastern Box Turtles.

Kevin took this at the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids and you can click that link to learn all about them and the wildlife you can see there. View the photo bigger and see more in his Animals photo album.

What’s up everyone?

Squirrels in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan (July 31st, 2017), photo by Corey Seeman

Apologies for the spotty posting over the last week. I’ve been pretty busy on a project.

Corey took this photo yesterday on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor when he was testing out his new Tamron 18mm-400mm lens, which he totally loves. View the photo background bigtacular and see more in Corey’s Project 365: Year 10 slideshow. (spoiler alert – there’s a lot of squirrels in it!)

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Fat Cats & Big Dogs: Michigan’s Pet Obesity Problem

Walk this way, photo by Alissa Hankinson

Here’s an article from a couple of weeks ago about Michigan’s fat cats & dogs:

When it comes to paunchy pooches, Michigan ranks No. 3 nationwide behind only Minnesota and Nebraska, according to a newly released study.

Michigan felines fared better — but only slightly, with the state ranking No. 6 for overweight cats, behind Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Idaho, and Delaware.

…The Vancouver, Washington-based Banfield Pet Hospital, a nationwide chain, on Tuesday released its 2017 State of Pet Health report. It found that one in three pets that visited a Banfield hospital in 2016 was diagnosed as overweight or obese. In the past 10 years, Banfield, which operates many clinics inside of PetSmart stores, witnessed a 169% increase in overweight cats and a 158% increase in overweight dogs, the news release stated.

Michigan pets tipped the scale in comparison to their counterparts nationwide. Dr. Kirk Breuninger, the lead researcher on the study, said 38% of dogs in Michigan were overweight, compared to 30% nationally. Thirty-nine percent of Michigan cats were overweight, compared to a 33% national average.

View Alissa’s photo bigger and see more in her Dogs slideshow.

Egg Season for Michigan Turtles

Snapping Turtle, photo by Kevin Povenz

I came across a cool video of a snapping turtle laying her eggs – check it out below! The Michigan Turtles page from the DNR says in part:

Turtles reproduce by internal fertilization and produce shelled eggs deposited on land. Most mating takes place in spring after a brief courtship, which begins shortly after turtles emerge from their hibernation sites. Courtship displays vary greatly. Male Eastern Box turtles chase their intended mates and nip at their shell edges, or chin. Female painted turtles receive soft toenail strokes from potential mates. Male snapping turtles may fight fierce battles to drive rivals away from a choice breeding territory.

Between late May and early July, a female turtle will leave the water and seek a sunny spot with little or no vegetation and moist, but not saturated, sand or soil. She digs a shallow nest cavity with her hind feet and deposits her clutch of eggs. Depending on species, the eggs may be round or oval and have either hard or flexible shells. The nest is then refilled by the female with excavated materials, without ever having seen the eggs and is abandoned to its fate. Many (probably most) turtle eggs are eaten by raccoons or other predators within a few days of being laid. Those that survive will hatch in two to three months. In most cases, the young head immediately for cover in shallow water (aquatic species) or leaf litter (box turtles). Young painted turtles have the ability to withstand partial freezing and often remain in the nest over winter, emerging in spring.

In most turtle species, gender is determined by the temperature of the egg during a critical part of incubation. In general, male turtles tend to hatch from cooler eggs, and females hatch from warmer eggs. Once hatched, baby turtles can grow quickly for the first few years, with growth slowing as they near adulthood.

Turtles are among the longest living animals on earth. Several species of turtles can live for several decades. With this longevity also comes a negative side. It takes several years for turtles to sexually mature (4 to 10 years for a Painted turtle, 14 to 20 years for a Blanding’s or Wood turtle, and 15 years for a Snapping turtle). Non breeding turtles are often the targets of predators, automobiles, and pet seekers. In addition, the longer life span allows turtles to build up environmental toxins in their tissues. These toxins can have serious affects on a turtle’s health and breeding ability.

About this photo from 2014 Kevin writes: While out on our hunt for Bald Eagles on Sunday we came across 5 different female snapping turtles laying their eggs. This one was on the bank of the Grand River that was probably 10 feet above the river.

View it bigger and see more in his Animals slideshow.