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…

On Sunday (November 25), a snow storm covered southeastern Idaho. We only got a skiff of snow in Dubois, but we heard that Idaho Falls and Pocatello got a lot of snow. Most of the time Dubois gets more snow than Idaho Falls. What happened?

Answered by: Kurt Buffalo, Meteorologist, National Weather Service The snow storm that affected southeast Idaho on Sunday was a bit complex, as the snow came in two different rounds. The first round came with a cold front that moved through during the late morning and early afternoon hours. This brought a brief period of light…

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…

We were at a zoo in the Midwest this summer when the tornado sirens went off. Zoo employees made sure people were safe in a shelter, but it didn’t seem like the animals were given any protection. We were wondering if a plan to care for zoo animals during a crisis situation is required for zoos?

Answered by Darrell Markum, General Curator, Idaho Falls Zoo As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Idaho Falls Zoo does have a catastrophic emergency plan. Because each emergency situation is going to be unique the plan provides basic details to address a variety of circumstances. It describes who is…