September 2013 Archives

State Butterfly Crossword

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1.    This butterfly, the ________ Hairstreak, is an official emblem of Wyoming
2.    The state butterfly of Kentucky shares its name with a synonym for "governor"
3.     The state butterfly of Oklahoma is the Black _______ (Hint: it has a tail like that of a bird)
4.    New Hampshire chose the ______ Blue as its representative butterfly.
5.    The Colorado ________ is the emblem of its namesake state.
6.    The Zebra _______ of Tennessee is named for its large wings.
7.    Hawaii's state butterfly is the tropical-sounding __________ .

1.    This state butterfly of New York shares its name with a naval commander.
2.    Arkansas' state butterfly is the Diana _________.
3.    The California _______ is named for its canine-like appearance.
4.    Maryland's symbol is the Baltimore _________.
5.    Six states from Alabama to Idaho boast the regal ________ butterfly as their emblem.
6.    Mississipi chose this flavorful-sounding swallowtail as its state butterfly.
7.    The swallowtail representing Tennessee shares its name with a black-and-white striped equine.
8.    The butterfly that symbolizes Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia is named after an orange jungle cat.
9.    New Mexico's state butterfly is the _____ Hairstreak.
10.  The Mourning _______ butterfly of Montana is named for its dark coloring.

The answers are beneath - no peeking!


Sandhill Crane Hunting Legalized in Tennessee

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Sndcrnehunt.jpg    The rising sun, surrounded by a wreath of rose-colored clouds, is reflected in the pond, framed like a mirror by tufts of cattails growing around its edge. Occasionally, the light, cool wind stirs the reflection into vague, flaming ripples spreading slowly over the lake. An egret stands like a lone sentinel upon a mound of grass, scanning the water with quick and adept glances. Two pond-skaters rendezvous on the glassy surface of the water. And, across the lake, two sandhill cranes stand erect in the early morning light, trumpeting - a distinctive, resounding, somehow haunting song which inevitably evokes their prehistoric past.
    Certainly these majestic birds, with their dignified grey-and-red plumage, exceptional height, and bright red or yellow dinosaur-like eyes, belong in the Mesozoic era (sandhill crane fossils found in Nebraska are up to ten million years old.) They have a widespread range extending from Canada to Florida, and migratory flocks can be seen everywhere from New Mexico to Tennessee. However, despite their seemingly common status and well-being as a species, they, and their endangered relatives the Whooping Cranes, are still put at risk by the unwise actions of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.

    Recently, the TFWC voted, against an overwhelming majority of their constituents, to legalize a sandhill crane hunting season from late November 2013 to early January of 2014. Four hundred permits will be dispensed by a lottery system to hunters who will then be allowed to kill three sandhills each, after passing an online "waterfowl identification test" so that the commission can be satisfactorily certain that the hunters will not accidentally shoot a whooping crane.
    Even besides the fact that being able to identify photographs of birds on a computer screen is very different from the actual ability to recognize wild species, the commission seems to have avoided the most important issue - saving the sandhills themselves. Three out of the six subspecies of the cranes are listed as endangered and reliant on captive breeding programs to ensure their survival. That these cranes will be raised, released and subsequently shot is at best unlawful and wasteful, at worst an immoral act of animal cruelty.

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