How do chickadees and sparrows (and other birds who stay in Idaho all winter) find food?

Answered by Dr. Chuck Trost, Emeritus Professor, Idaho State University Chickadees cache food all fall, and can remember thousands of cache sites. Their brains grow larger every fall to help them remember. Sparrows eat seeds, which are abundant in the fall, especially at bird feeders. Why Do Birds Migrate? For a bird to journey hundreds…

Do turtles have backbones?

Answered by Alana Jensen, Environmental Educator, INL ESER Program Turtles and tortoises are the only reptiles with tough, bony shells. The shell has an outer layer of scutes made of hornlike material called keratin and an inner layer of bony plates. There are two parts to the shell of a turtle: the upper portion is…

If pronghorn winter diet is close to 100% sagebrush, how do they process the terpenoid oils in the plant when other browsers can’t?

Question answered by Dr. Jericho Whiting, Biology Professor, BYU-Idaho Sagebrush provides a ready source of winter nutrition for pronghorn, because of its nutritional quality and relative availability on sagebrush-dominated winter range used by these ungulates. Three adaptations by pronghorn allow them to eat sagebrush in winter. First, pronghorn are opportunistic herbivores. As such these animals are able to…

When you first jump into a swimming pool on a really warm day, the water feels rather chilly at first, but then you get used to the cold temperature. Why?

Answered by Tamara Cox, RN, Eastern Idaho Public Health Human skin contains different kinds of sensory receptors (cells) that can identify several distinct types of sensations, such as tapping, vibration, pressure, pain, heat, and cold. Each receptor is triggered by a specific stimulus. Thermoreceptors detect temperature changes and send electrical pulses through sensory nerves to…

My geraniums were so pretty this summer. Is there a way I can keep them alive over the winter to replant in the spring?

Answered by Betsy Holmes, Master Gardener Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) are native to South Africa and are grown as annuals in most parts of the United States, but they are actually tender perennials. The four common types of geraniums are scented-leaf, ivy-leaf, Martha Washington, and zonal (Pelargonium x hortorum).  Zonal are the most common geraniums sold…