With the progression of winter, the rain in the Pacific Northwest may discourage many residents from fully enjoying nature’s wonders. But for those who don’t mind the wet days, many of these awes of nature can be observed throughout the Puyallup campus. Although the campus doesn’t have an official nature trail, the following are a series of birds and animals that could be viewed by the explorers willing to venture outdoors.
European Starling—conditioned by centuries of living in settled areas of Europe, when 100 European starling were introduced to New York City’s Central Park in 1890, the species quickly spread to populate all of the U.S. and lower parts of Canada. These congregating birds create much noise, foul the area and prove to be hard to drive away. Despite this, glimmering feathers cause both males and females to be attractive birds.
The European rabbit or common rabbit is a species of rabbit native to America since its introduction from Spain and Portugal. While the common rabbit is a social creature among those of its own kind, they are shy when it comes to human contact. Rabbits are essentially mixed feeders, both grazing and browsing, but grass is their primary food source
While his native cousin, the Pileated woodpecker is more recognizable, being the largest North American Woodpecker, the Harry woodpecker is just as impressive. The Harry Woodpecker is a forest bird and is shyer that any of its relations. Found from coast to coast the Harry Woodpecker aids in the preservation of forests, saving them from the destruction of many wood-boring beetles. During mating season and as an expression of territorial prominence the Harry Woodpecker will hammer on dead limbs.
Named after the American ornithologist John Kirk Townsend, Townsend Warblers are small songbird of the New World warbler family. They nest in coniferous forests with large trees in the northwest cost of North America. Their migration patterns are limited, and they spend both summer and winter in similar locations. The pines in the rear of the campus are ideal locations for nesting.
Known as sporadic visitors to the Northwest in the winter, the Red Crossbill travels in packs that migrate from New England coming all the way from the Rocky Mountains. They feed exclusively on conifers seeds, enabled by the crossed tip of their beak. Because their chosen food is available in winter they start nesting as early as January.
Almost 25 species of chipmunks are native to North America. With the exception of the Siberian Chipmunk, which is found in Asia, all species are native to the North America. Chipmunks are classified under the single genus, Tamias, A Greek word meaning “to store,” in reference to the animals tendency to sort more food for the winter than is needed.
The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized member of the woodpecker family. It’s native to most of North America and is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate. Flickers heavily habitat woodlands and generally nest in holes formerly occupied by other woodpeckers. During the winter, the Northern Flicker migrates to the South, but will return in the spring to reclaim their territory. They do so by hammering on a plethora of available structures. While many woodpeckers drill into wood so as to make a place to nest, Flickers instead drill to express dominance and a mating ritual.
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