Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why is it that most people don't generally see wildlife...

Well, one reason might be that animals general work at not being seeing for a significant portion of their daily lives.

In the case of this California tree frog, it spends most of the year sitting very still on a rock face overhanging a ephemeral stream. It tucks its legs under its body to help reduce its surface area to a minimum, therefore helps it to cut water loss. For an amphibian, that means life and death! Sitting very still and blending in with its particular nook in the rock is equally important. To the casual eye, it could easily pass as a patch of lichen in the photo above....

Mammals too need to be know how to hide, especially small mammals that others might see as tasty. Rabbits are seen by many animals as food, and they are very good at disappearing.

This one hopped into the thin cover of these dead plants as I round the bend of a trail. Spotted it only in my peripheral vision. I walked within a few feet of it and it didn't budge. Like many rabbits, this desert cottontail uses camouflage first... and running away only once it has been spotted.

The larger black-tailed jackrabbit is more likely to bolt. Though it will also seek cover if it feels it has not been spotted or feels undisturbed by the observer. See if you can spot the the jackrabbit?

So what about much larger mammals? An animal the size of an elk should be easy to spot where it lives, right? Especially if this particular animal is out in open country. So, can you see it? There is a HUGE bull elk somewhere in this photo... but where?

It chose to settle on the hillside in a spot where it was at least partially hidden, and yet could look out over the surrounding country.

And birds...?

Yep, most of them do this as well. Especially the small birds, like the plentiful LBJ's (Little Brown Jobs). See the sparrows in this shot? How many are there?

Like many small birds, these 2 golden-crowned sparrows are a combination of different shade of browns and grays. At the approach of a predator - especially of people - they are quick to fly into the cover of nearby shrubs. They have to be alert... never know where those sharp-shinned hawks might be hiding!

So what other ways do animals make themselves so hard for us to spot?

1 comment:

possum59 said...

Filip, I'm astounded at how close you can get to the animals! I thought I saw the jackrabbit, but when I enlarged the photo, it was behind where I thought it was...I did find the elk, though! Knowing how large they are, those rocks must be as big as cars.