PLANET EARTH IN SILHOUETTES has over 1,500 members and over 23,000 photos and videos.
Living in the threatened long-leaf pine flats, the dusky gopher frog needs fire, water, and earth to survive. Earthen tunnels, dug by other animals like gopher tortoises, are a damp refuge for these frogs when the weather is dry, while fire keeps the longleaf forest healthy and open, and the rainwater that gathers in seasonal wetlands serves as a perfect place to lay eggs.
With only a single population of about a hundred adult frogs in Mississippi’s Harrison County, these dumpy, speckly frogs are the rarest species of amphibian in North America. If startled, they cover their eyes with their front feet, and can also inflate their bodies to look bigger. The male frogs’ mating calls are said to sound like a human snoring.
PLANET EARTH LANDSCAPES has over 7,000 members and over 300,000 photos and videos.
The Interior Least Tern, once considered rare, may soon be taken off the Endangered Species list, thanks to a partnership of ABC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
The success is in part due to management techniques that keep predators off nesting sandbars on the Lower Mississippi River.
PLANET EARTH OUR HOME is our flagship group with over 12,000 members and over 814,000 photos and videos.
Every year in early spring, Lane Green sets half of his property—100 acres of longleaf pine forest in the Red Hills region of the Florida Panhandle—on fire. Green, 73, has been burning this land since the time he learned to walk. His father would jury-rig a torch using a wire hanger and piece of cloth and tell him to drag it through the brush along the road—just as Green’s father had been taught before him, his granddad before him, and his great-granddad before him. When Green was young, his favorite time to burn was at night, when the air was cool, and the fire, creeping and crackling, looked as if the stars had been scattered across the ground.
Scientists and land managers almost universally agree that prescribed fire is the single best tool available to help mitigate wildfire risk. Landowners in the American Southeast use more prescribed fire than in any other part of the country. But across much of the American West—which has captured an outsize proportion of the public imagination around wildfire—scientists say land management agencies aren’t using fire nearly enough.
PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD has over 1,500 members and over 111,000 photos and videos.
BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Chauna torquata
POPULATION: 100,000–1,000,000 individuals.
HABITAT: Freshwater tropical and sub-tropical wetlands, including lakes, marshes, flooded grasslands and lagoons.
The Southern Screamer (also known as the Crested Screamer) may look ungainly at first glance, with its big body, disproportionately small head, and thick legs. But this large, gray marsh bird, closely related to geese and other waterfowl, is actually a strong swimmer and flier.
Screamers are the “guard birds” of their habitats; their trumpet-like calls can carry for several miles, warning other birds, such as Blue-throated Macaw, Orinoco Goose, and Streamer-tailed Tyrant, of approaching danger.
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