" CARD 11
Caves were dwelling places both for our ancestors
and for many now-extinct animals. Still today, spider,
shrimp, insect, and bat can be found in caves.
Many natural caves are formed
from a rock known as lime-
stone. This rock slowly dis-
solves in rainwater, which is a
weak acid. When water drains
through the limestone, it
causes small cracks. These
cracks widen each time more
water enters, breaking off
pieces of stone and washing
them away. The water forms
small streams underground.
The combined effect of the
water and the loose stones it
carries carves out caves or cav-
erns (larger caves) in the rock.
In some cav:e sites, the en-
trance is a shaft that runs from
a hole in the ground down to
the cave. Elsewhere, where
rocks lie at different angles,
entry is easier.
Some caves are quite small,
while others form vast under-
ground chambers or a series of
connecteg caves. Many have
water running through them.
The few animals that live suc-
cessfully in caves die easily if
their delicate habitat is dis-
turbed. Quarrying for lime-
stone destroys many caves,
but some are now protected
to prevent this.
Spelunkers (cave explorers)
who accidentally step on the
raised edges of a pool break
them down and allow the wa-
ter to drain out, killing all the
tiny creatures that live there.
Some cave visitors pollute the
delicate pools when they leave
behind used flashlight bat-
Sometimes the river has re-
routed to a lower level, leav-
ing the cave system dry. Early
humans inhabited these dry
Stalactites and stalagmites
The water that drips through
the roof of the cave contains
a mineral, called calcite, that it
picks up as it passes through
the limestone. As the water
teries and other trash.
These days cave exploring
clubs have strict rules to try
to minimize the disturbance to
the caves. Members are often
scientists doing research.
Bats are easily disturbed as
they roost. Lights, noise, and
the increased warmth from
people's bodies may awaken
them from hibernation. An en-
tire bat colony can die in this
way. Many bat caves are now
closed off with bars, which
keep people out but allow bats
continued access.
Above: The cave forms when
acidic rainwater drains through
limestone rock.
evaporates, deposits of calcite
left on the cave ceiling grad-
ually form stalactites. Similarly,
stalagmites grow on the floor
below as water containing
calcite drips onto it. Both
features take many hundreds
of years to form and are very
fragile and easily damaged.
Above: A colony of bats can be
wiped out by the slightest human
0160200291 PACKET 29
Many small animals live near
cave entrances, attracted by the
shelter they provide. But in the darkest
recesses, no plants can grow and few animals
are able to survive. Those that do have adapted
their appearance and behavior to life
in this strange environment.
The cave has three features
vital to the wildlife living in it.
The temperature and level of
humidity are constant through
the year, and, except near the
entrance, it is always dark.
At the cave entrance, green
plants grow in the dim light,
and where the cave is wet
there may be mosses and
ferns. Some moths winter in
the cave entrance. Insects,
mammals, and birds wander in
and make their home"s there.
Deep in the cave, no plants
grow in the darkness, so no
food exists for plant-eating
animals. Microscopic bacteria
and fungi live on the drop-
pings of bats or birds, or on
Right: This
bat uses echo-
location (sound
navigation) to
find its way in
1 Daubenton's bat
2 Natterer's bat
3 Fox
4 Raven
5 Water shrimp
6 Water slater
material washed in by streams.
These organisms form food for
flies, water shrimp, and milli-
pedes, which in turn become
food for other animals.
Food is scarce, so animals
save energy when possible.
They grow and move slowly
and lay few eggs. Some lose
the larval (early form of an
immature animal) stage of their
lifecycle to conserve energy.
Cave animals are often paler
than related species above
ground. They are often almost
blind and find their way in the
dark with long antennae and a
keen sense of smell. Many cave
species cannot tolerate expo-
sure to light.
7 Springtail
8 Porrhomma
rosenhaneri spider
9 Meta menardi spider
10 Herald moth
11 Tissue moth
Caves provide evidence about
the people and animals that
lived during the last Ice Age.
Explorers have found remains
of Ice Age hyenas, reindeer,
woolly mammoths, bears,
bison, and cave lions, which
were twice as big as the
modern lion. Some animals
strayed into caves or fell
through their roofs and died.
Others were killed and then
dragged in by predators,
including early man.
Caves also contain tools that
were made of animal bones by
early humans. These, together
with bone carvings and cave
paintings, give us clues to
early human life.
~ B A T S
Bats are usually the largest
animals living in a cave. They
roost there in winter in the
darkness of its depths. They
will not fly into a cave until the
temperature and humidity
(dampness) are just right.
Bats often return each year
to the same crevice in a cave
to hibernate in the darkness.
Their droppings, or guano,
provide food for the creatures
living below and introduce
important nutrients into the
cave food chain.
Bats see in the dark by
bouncing high-pitched
sounds off walls to form a
"sound picture." This type of
navigation is echolocation.
~ A R D 1 2
The redwood forests in California contain some of the world ~
tal/est living trees. These majestic trees have reddish brown trunks
that are highly resistant to disease and fire.
The redwood probably origi-
nated 20 million years ago, and
fossil remains indicate that simi-
lar giant conifers grew 1 60 mil-
lion years ago. Before the last
Ice Age, these giant trees cov-
ered what is now Asia, Europe,
and North America. Most of
the trees died when the glaciers '
moved south. After the glaciers
melted only three redwood
species remained.
Two coniferous redwood spe-
cies, which keep their leaves all
year, are found in California.
The coast redwood grows on
the coast between Big Sur and
the Oregon border. The giant
sequoia, or sierra redwood,
grows along the western slopes
of the Sierra Nevada in eastern
California. The third species, the
Above: The giant sequoia is one
of the two coniferous redwoods
found in the United States.
dawn redwood, is deciduous
(sheds its leaves each year),
smaller, and grows in China.
When the California coast was
settled, the redwoods' size
made them hard to cut down.
Sawmills to handle this wood
were built in the 1 830s and
'40s. Huge quantities of this
durable wood were used to
build towns, and many forest
areas were destroyed.
Twentieth-century mechani-
zation continued this destruc-
tion. By 1964 less than 400
square miles of undisturbed
forest remained. The tree re-
ceived protection in 1 968
when 160 square miles of for-
est in northern California were
designated a national park.
Left: Special
equipment is
needed to cut
down the huge
trunks of the
Right: The
only coniferous
forests are in
coast redwood
365 ft.
Area of
redwood forest
0160200441 PACKET 44
The mighty coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens,
can grow to a tremendous height-the tallest tree
in existence is over 365 feet high. The age of some
giant redwoods is also remarkable. There are trees
living today that are more than 2,000 years old.
Within the redwood forest there are many shade-loving
plants, as well as a variety of birds and mammals.
The lower half or two-thirds of
the coast redwood's trunk is
usually bare of branches. At
the top is a delicate canopy of
feathery green foliage. Each
year the redwood releases
thousands of tiny globular
cones that contain seeds, but
only one seedling per million
survives to become a tree.
A mature redwood is resis-
tant to both fire and disease.
On the few occasions when a
redwood is affected by flames,
Front insets: The chipmunk
(right) is a common sight in the
redwood forest, but the night-
hunting marten (left) is not often
seen by day.
it can rejuvenate itself, and if
cut or damaged, it will quickly
sprout hundreds of vigorous
new shoots from its base.
In spite of its size, the red-
wood has a very shallow root
system. The roots reach 6 to
10 feet into the soil and spread
out about 50 feet. Floods are a
constant threat, as the running
waters can wash away soil be-
tween the tree's roots, leaving
it vulnerable to being blown
over by the wind. On the other
hand, a flood can be benefi-
cial, adding fresh soil around
the tree's base. When this oc-
curs, the redwood grows new
roots closer to the surface.

High in the redwood forest,
ravens and crows squabble
loudly. They are joined by the
Steller's jay, which steals eggs
and newly hatched young out
of the nests of other species. It
keeps its own nest hidden in
the forest, returning to it only
at dusk to prevent it from be-
ing discovered by predators.
The redwood forest and the
mixed forests surrounding it
are home to many mammals,
including the California black-
tailed deer, tiny shrews, and
Douglas squirrels. The largest
inhabitant of the redwood
forest is the Roosevelt elk,
which once ranged through-
out North America. Today it is
found mainly in the national
parks on the Pacific coast.
left: The Roosevelt elk finds a
haven in redwood forests and
their surrounding areas.
The marbled murrelet is a
very different bird that spends
the day on the Pacific
Ocean, diving for food. But at
night this small, stocky seabird
nests high up among the red-
woods' branches.
Right: The banana slug feeds on
the dead leaves and debris that
cover the redwood forest floor.
The predatory marten visits
the redwood forest at night
to hunt along tree branches
for the chipmunks and birds
that abound in this habitat.
Other night hunters include
the long-tailed weasel, wol-
verine, and badger. Both
striped and spotted skunks
also hunt at night, but they
may hunt during the day if
food is scarce.
Right: The Douglas squirrel, or
chickaree, is a species of red
At the edge of the redwood
groves, the giant trees are sur-
rounded by mixed forests of
evergreen and deciduous trees
such as the California rose bay
(a species of rhododendron)
and scented azaleas. Vine ma-
ple spreads abundantly along
the forest floor, taking root
wherever a node touches the
ground. Poison oak spirals
around redwood trunks with
its leaves turned upward.
Many species of mushroom
and other fungi grow in the
shade of the redwood, includ-
left: The Steller's jay is one of the
successful predators in the red-
wood forest.
ing the poisonous red and
white fly agaric. A wide variety
of ferns also flourish, from the
delicate maidenhair, which
covers the banks of streams, to
the more robust sword fern,
with its long, pointed fronds.
During spring and early sum-
mer the ground surrounding
the base of the redwoods is
covered with trillium, a mem-
ber of the lily family, with deli-
cate white blossoms that fade
to dusky pink. Redwood sorrel
blooms with pinkish purple
flowers in spring. Its clover-
shaped leaves open wide dur-
ing the day and roll up tightly
at dusk.
Stretching for 700 miles from British Columbia to Lassen Peak in
northern California, the Cascade Range is the site of four national
parks. It offers some of America most splendid mountain scenery.
__________________________ _
Over millions of years, North
America has been drifting slow-
ly to the west, while the floor
of the Pacific Ocean has been
sliding under the continent. As
rock from the Pacific descended
into the Earth's crust, it melted
and then forced its way up to
the surface as lava, producing
the Cascades along the conti-
nent's western edge.
Everything except the most
northern part of the Cascades
consists of volcanic rock, and
all of its well -known peaks are
volcanoes, including Mount
Rainier in Washington and Las-
sen Peak in California. Some of
these volcanoes are still active.
Many peaks in the Cascades
have alpine glaciers. The high-
est peak is Mount Rainier, which
is 14,410 feet. It has the largest
glacier system in the contigu-
ous 48 states, with 34 square
miles of the mountain covered
by ice year-round.
Below the glaciers and tree
line, there are dense forests of
pine, fir, and spruce. There are
also clear lakes. Some of these
lakes are fed by glaciers. Oth-
ers formed when lava blocked
the flow of a mountain stream.
About 7,000 years ago, in the
area that is now Oregon, an-
cient Mount Mazama erupted,
sending 12 cubic miles of ash
into the air. This explosion cre-
ated Crater Lake at the top of
the now-extinct volcano.
History repeated itself on May
18, 1980, when Mount St. Hel-
ens in Washington erupted vio-
lently. A cloud of ash rose near-
ly 13 miles into the sky before
raining down on the surround-
ing land. Everything within 154
square miles was killed. The ex-
plosion blew off the top 1,300
feet of the peak and left a smok-
ing 2,500-foot-deep crater.




• Eugene
f::\ Crater Lake
National Park
Mount Shasta- -,--_
/ -
lassen /
Peak "
Lassen Volcanic /
National Park /
left: In the center of the spectac-
ular Crater Lake in Oregon, a
new volcanic cone is growing.
This cone forms Wizard Island.
0160200951 PACKET 95
Although it has a tumultuous volcanic history, the
Cascade Range seems a tranquil environment today.
The peaks are clothed in dense evergreen forests with
rushing streams and alpine meadows. These mountains
provide an impressive variety of habitats for animals
ranging in size from the elk to very tiny insects.
On the lower mountain slopes
in the Cascades, the forests are
bathed by moist ocean winds,
but conditions change higher
up, near the tree line--at 10,000
feet in California and 5,600 feet
in Washington. Variations in the
rainfall, temperature, and snow
cover affect the kinds of trees
that are found in different areas.
The low western slope is the
wettest zone, and here giant
Douglas firs, Sitka spruces, and
western white pines predomi-
Front cover:
Mount Shuksan
is in the north-
ern Cascades.
Front inset:
Black-tailed deer
area common
sight in the Cas-
cades, where
they browse on
leaves or shrubs.
Right: Old-man's
beard lichen of-
ten hangs from
tree branches in
the Cascades. It
survives in this
habitat because
of moist winds
from the nearby
Pacific Ocean.
nate. Higher up, the dominant
tree is the silver fir. Still higher
is the red fir zone. Even higher
-just below the tree line-the
whitebark pine, subalpine fir,
and Engelmann spruce are the
most common trees.
Above the forest are meadows
full of wildflowers, and higher
up, on the bleak, windswept
tundra, plants hug the ground.
In this environment even shrubs
like junipers do not grow more
than a few inches tall.
Right: The Cas-
cades frog stays
at elevations of
3,000 to 9,000
feet. Although
the froglet is only
a half-inch long,
the adult grows
to as much as
three inches.
Some animals, including the
black-tailed deer (known else-
where as the mule deer), are at
home in almost all the zones of
the Cascades. Others, such as
the western spotted skunk, are
found only on the lower slopes.
Douglas' squirrel, which is a
western cousin of the red squir-
left: The varied
thrush frequents
moist coniferous
forests in the Cas-
cades. Like other
members of the
thrush family, it
feeds on berries,
including those
of the mountain
ash, during the
winter months.
rei, prefers the evergreen forests
higher up. It feeds on the seeds
of various fir trees.
The Cascades frog lives only
in the Cascades and the nearby
Olympic Mountains. It avoids
the lowest slopes but is found
along streams as high as the
tree line.
left: The seeds
of the Douglas fir
are a major food
source of Doug-
las'squirrel. In
the fall it takes
unopened cones
and stores up to
160 of them in a
damp place. The
dampness keeps
the cones from
opening until the
squirrel wants
the seeds.
A large, secretive predator of
the Cascades and other west-
ern mountains is the northern
spotted owl. This bird spends
the day roosting out of sight
in dense firs and comes out at
dusk to hunt for rodents. It lays
its eggs in an abandoned nest
of a raven or hawk.
Although there is no short-
age of rodents for food or old
nests, the northern spotted owl
is now an endangered bird. It
prefers the deepest virgin for-
est, but these trees are being
cut down by the lumber indus-
try in much of the Cascades as
well as elsewhere.
The spotted owl's breeding
habits add to the problem of
the loss of its habitat. An owl
pair, which mates for life, is re-
luctant to leave its nesting site.
In addition, since spotted owls
Right: Conservationists are fight-
ing in court to protect the northern
spotted owl's habitat from loggers.
do not breed every year, the
population of these birds does
not grow very quickly.
Northern Cascades Na-
tional Park (Washington):
Establ ished in 1966, it cov-
ers 504,781 acres. It is fa-
mous for its rugged alpine
scenery, mountain lakes,
and glaciers.
Mount Rainier National
Park (Washington): Estab-
lished in 1899, it covers
235,404 acres. In addition
to the snowcapped peak
of Mount Rainier, the park
contains 26 glaciers and a
dense forest.
Crater lake National Park
(Oregon): Established in
1902, it has 183,224 acres.
It contains a big lake in the
crater of an extinct volcano,
with 2,000 cliffs on its rim
and dense forests.
lassen Volcanic National
Park (California): Estab-
lished in 1916, it extends
over 106,372 acres. The
park incl udes a recently ac-
tive volcano, hot springs,
lava flows, and other vol-
canic features .
The breathtaking setting of Yosemite National Park has been an
inspiration to visitors for generations. This dramatic natural
habitat is home to an amazing variety of plants and animals.
Renowned for its rock forma-
tions, Yosemite has huge gran-
ite domes, sheer rock walls,
towering spires, and leaning
peaks. These features were
caused by two forces. First,
the movement of the earth's
crust threw up a mountain
range of granite millions of
years ago. Later, glaciers hol-
lowed out deep, U-shaped
valleys in the rock.
A further action, known as ex-
foliation, created huge granite
domes. The granite was once
under great pressure because
it was buried beneath several
miles of rock. As these rocks
were eroded by wind, water,
and glaciers, pressures with-
in the granite were released.
Flakes of rock began to peel
off like the layers of an onion.
Exfoliation literally means
"taking off leaves." It gradu-
ally produced the domes of
Yosemite, the largest of which
is Half Dome.
Yosemite is filled with many
kinds of trees, mostly conifers
(evergreens). But the giant se-
quoia is the most notable of the
tree species. "Grizzly Giant," the
largest and oldest sequoia in
Left: There are
two species of
the sequoia
tree-the red-
wood and the
giant sequoia.
These huge
conifers can
grow to more
than 300 feet
in height.
' ",
Left: Glacial
boulders reflect
the changes
that occurred
in the last Ice
Age. Rocks were
torn from the
valley floors by
glaciers and de-
formed by great
Yosemite, is 35 feet in diameter
and 210 feet high.
The roots of sequoias are rarely
deeper than three feet. But since
they can extend 1 00 feet from
the tree, the roots counterbal-
ance the great bulk of the trunk.
The bark of a mature sequoia
is virtually fireproof. Sequoias
can thus withstand forest fires
that clear out undergrowth and
provide space for sequoia seed-
lings to grow.
0160200471 PACKET 47
In 1890, Congress established Yosemite National Park
in order to protect the area and its wildlife from
the dangers of logging and overgrazing. Today
Yosemite is faced with a different kind of problem-
its popularity. Too many visitors may destroy
the vegetation, erode the soil, and damage
the natural beauty of this national park.
Yosemite National Park covers
761,170 acres in California's
Sierra Nevada. It is a huge nat-
ural wilderness of meadows,
forests, mountains, and lakes.
In the early 19th century,
prospectors arrived in the area
searching for gold. By 1860
logging and overgrazing by
cattle were starting to destroy
the land. In an attempt to safe-
guard the area, naturalist John
Muir battled loggers, cattle-
men, and government offi-
cials. Largely as a result of his
efforts, Yosemite became Cal-
ifornia's first state park in 1864
and America's third national
park in 1890. Just five days
Right: The
puma, a pow-
erful hunter of
mammals, is a
rare sight.
Front cover: EI
Capitan is the
largest of the
rock walls.
Front insets:
Clark's nut-
cracker (left)
perches on a
branch. The
coyote (right) is
active at dusk.
earlier Sequoia National Park
in California was established,
also with Muir's help.
Today the park is such a pop-
ular public attraction that it is
in danger of becoming a vic-
tim of its own success. There is
a fine balance between public
access and destruction of the
habitat. At one time, several
thousand people a day were
walking along the nature trails,
trampling the vegetation and
eroding the soil. The number
of visitors to the park is now
strictly controlled.
Right: At 1,427 feet, Yosemite
Upper Fall is one of the world's
longest unbroken waterfalls.
Although the name Yosemite
comes from a Native American
word meaning "grizzly bear,"
the animal no longer lives in
the park. But the black bear,
which can also be pale yellow
or brown, is often seen. Even
more common is the mule
deer, which damages vegeta-
tion if it becomes numerous.
Raccoons, porcupines, coy-
otes, and gray foxes are harder
to spot. Big cats like the bay
lynx and puma are rarely seen.
On mountain screes (stony
slopes), the pika, a tiny rela-
tive of the rabbit, gathers and
stacks grass in the fall. The
yellow-bellied marmot lives
in the same rocky terrain. Its
burrow is usually near a boul-
der, which the marmot uses
as a lookout. The park's five
species of chipmunk are gen-
erally easy to find.
Right: The mule deer, also known
as the blacktail deer, has large
mulelike ears.
The dense woodlands in Yosem-
ite attract a variety of birds. A
common sight is the Steller's
jay, a member of the crow fam-
ily. Bold and aggressive, it may
left: The pika,
a tiny rock-
dwelling rela-
tive of the
rabbit, lives
near the tim-
berline. It has
an unusual
habit of build-
ing haystacks
of food, which
it eats during
the winter.
at times steal eggs and hatch-
lings from the nests of other
birds. It will even scavenge at
picnic areas.
Another member of the crow
family, Clark's nutcracker, often
ventures close to humans. This
bird prefers conifer seeds, but
it can be tamed to take other
food from the hand.
A rare sight is the great gray
owl, which inhabits Yosemite's
coniferous forests. This large
owl hunts at night, searching
for rodents in forest clearings
and open country.
left: The mountain bluebird pre-
fers the upland meadows. Only
the male is blue.
~ C A R D ~
Yellowstone is the world ~ oldest national park. With its unusual
volcanic formations, impressive waterfalls, and magnificent
wildlife, this area attracts millions of visitors every year.
----5;J KEYFACTS ____________________________ ~
Scientists believe that Yellow-
stone lies above a "hot spot," a
source of radioactive heat in the
Earth's mantle. Several volcanic
explosions have shaken the re-
gion. The last major eruption oc-
curred approximately 600,000
years ago. It threw about 1,000
square miles of the Rocky Moun-
tain region into the air and cre-
ated a vast crater, which was
gradually filled in by lava.
Today magma (molten rock
material) is thought to lie three
Huge fires swept through Yel-
lowstone National Park in 1988,
affecting nearly half of the re-
gion. Conservationists debated
whether these forest fires were
a natural disaster or an ecologi-
cal benefit.
Until 1971 park officials beat
out fires as soon as they began.
• Old Faithful-the world's
best-known geyser-lives up
to its name and erupts almost
every hour.
• Some of the park's oldest
Left: Yellow-
stone has over
200 geysers-
the largest con-
centration in
the world. Wa-
ter deep below
the ground is
heated by mag-
ma and then
forces jets of
over/ying wa-
ter into the air.
to five miles below the surface.
It heats water that seeps through
the rocks. This hot water rises,
creating geysers.
There are also mineral -rich hot
springs, which may be brightly
colored by bacteria and algae;
fumaroles (emissions of steam);
and mud pools, where rising
steam containing acid gases has
transformed rock into hot mud.
Right: Yellowstone gained its name
from the bright yellow sulfur depos-
its in the rock.
But now many conservationists
believe that forest fires caused
by lightning are nature's way of
renewing vegetation. The re-
growth of plants after the 1988
fires has been rapid. The lodge-
pole pine even appears to be
adapted to fire. It produces two
kinds of seeds, one of which
rock formations were created
approximately 2,500 million
years ago.
• Steamboat Geyser in Yellow-
stone Park is the tallest active
opens only when heated to a
high degree. After the fires, mil-
lions of seeds were released on·
to soil enriched by ash.
The fire itself and the loss of
grazing land affected animal
populations. But the numbers
lost were small compared with
the total populations.
geyser in the world. Eruptions
reach about 370 feet.
• As early as 1886 soldiers
were sent to Yellowstone to
control hunting.
us P 6001 12 069 PACKET 69
Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872.
The region is mainly a broad plateau formed by lava,
and it is surrounded by the towering peaks of the Rocky
Mountains. Almost all of Yellowstone is located in the
northwestern corner of Wyoming. However" two small
sections of the park extend into Idaho and Montana.

Yellowstone National Park cov-
ers almost 3,500 square miles.
Within its borders there are gey-
sers, hot springs, bubbling mud
pools, and other volcanic fea-
tures. The white waters of the
Yellowstone River cut through
the Grand Canyon of Yellow-
stone and tumble over thunder-
ing waterfalls.
In 1807 John Colter, a mem-
ber of the Lewis and Clark ex-
pedition to the western United
States, became the first white
man to visit Yellowstone. His
Front inset:
Even though
the coyote (left)
preys mainly on
rabbits and ro-
dents, it is very
resourceful and
will eat almost
anything. But
it avoids large
animals such as
the wapiti, or
elk (right), for
which it is no
description of steaming pools,
erupting geysers, and a strong
sulfur smell was dismissed as fic-
tion. Local trappers referred to
Yellowstone as "Colter's Hell."
In 1870 an expedition led by
General Henry Washburn re-
ported on the wealth of plants
and wild animals in this volcanic
region. In 1872 Yellowstone be-
came the world's first national
park. Today more than two mil-
lion visitors a year use the 300
miles of roads in the park or
walk its many trails.
Left: The cut-
throat trout,
with its blood-
red coloring, is
closely related
to the rainbow
Located in the Rocky Mountain
region, Yellowstone is mostly
8,000 feet above sea level, with
peaks as high as 11,370 feet.
Its high altitude and northern
latitude give it short, cool sum-
mers and long winters. Heavy
snows block the roads between
November and May, but the
The great gray owl, the largest
owl in the United States, is a
rarely seen predator with an al-
most noiseless flight. The owl's
range extends from Wyoming
west to California and north-
west into Alaska.
Over 200 other bird species
are found in Yellowstone Na-
tional Park, including the Can-
ada goose, white pelican, and
trumpeter swan. The bald eagle
and osprey plunge for fish in the
lakes and rivers, while great blue
Left: The great blue heron flexes its
5-shaped neck in a lightning-fast
move to snatch fish.
Right: Yellowstone's coniferous
forests and undisturbed clearings
attract the great gray owl.
animals still congregate around
the volcanic hot pools.
Evergreen forests, mountain
meadows, rivers, and the large
Yellowstone Lake provide var-
ied habitats. There are 11 main
tree species, but the lodgepole
pine dominates, making up
about four-fifths of the forests.
herons stalk in the shallows.
In the water swim cutthroat
trout, mountain whitefish, and
grayling. Various trout species
have also been introduced.
Right: The trumpeter swan, named
for its call, breeds in the area.

The wapiti, or elk, is the most
common large mammal in Yel-
lowstone. In summer there are
about 20,000 elk, but in winter
many move south, as do mule
deer. In summer the pronghorn
grazes on meadows, while the
moose, the world's largest deer,
frequents the park's marshes or
lake shores. The bighorn sheep's
cup-shaped hooves help it cope
with the rocky mountain slopes.
Left: The awesome grizzly bear
can weigh over half a ton. It has
no natural enemies.
Left: There were
once 60 million
American bison.
Almost killed off
by European set-
tlers, the bison
are slowly recov-
ering. There are
now 50,000, al-
though most of
these animals
live in captivity.
There are about 2,500 Amer-
ican bison, or buffalo, in Yellow-
stone. These herds and a herd
in Wyoming's Grand Teton Na-
tional Park are the only wild bi-
son in the United States.
Yellowstone is also famous for
its bears. The grizzly bear is the
strongest and most ferocious
mammal in North America. To-
day there are about 200 grizzlies
in the park, as well as 500 small-
er black bears. Other predators
in the park include the coyote
and mountain lion, or puma.
CARD 16-
Baja California is a long peninsula below California, along
Mexico ~ Pacific coast. This strip of desert is home to only the
hardiest animals, but the waters offshore teem with marine life.
The peninsula known as Baja
California stretches for 800 miles
into the Pacific Ocean. The interi-
or receives less than 10 inches of
rain each year. Parts of the north-
ern desert are humid enough to
be used as grazing land and or-
chards. The dry central area is al-
most barren, but tropical storms
hit the southern tip, which is in
the hurricane zone.
The Baja is one of the most
cloud-free regions on earth. In
the constant sunlight, daytime
temperatures can reach 11 0°F.
High winds cool the Pacific side
and can cause extensive sand
Every year the gray whale mi-
grates to Scammon's Lagoon
on the Pacific coast to give
birth. It also breeds in Bahia
drifts across the desert.
The peninsula covers an
area of 54,000 square miles
and ranges in width from 30
to 143 miles. Mountains run
from the northern border to
the southern tip at Cabo San
Lucas. The dark terrain near
San Ignacio is the result of vol-
canic lava flows. Farther north,
near San Felipe, is Picacho del
Diablo, the Baja's highest peak.
Covered by snow in winter, it is
10,1 30 feet high.
Below: The manta ray is one of
many species that thrive in waters
off the Baja coast.
Ballenas to the north and Bahia
Magdalena to the south.
The whales arrive in Febru-
ary and March after a 6,200-
--.. .....
Pacific Ocean
mile journey from the Bering
Strait. They make the journey
without feeding and survive
by converting energy from
their blubber.
The calves are over 1 3 feet
long and weigh over a ton at
birth. Their mothers feed heavi-
lyon the abundant plankton-
small plant and animal orga- I
nisms-in the surface waters
along the Baja California coast.
Left: Barnacles encrusting a gray
whale's skin give it a blotchy
0160200571 PACKET 57
The waters around Baja California are full of whales,
porpoises, fish, and other wildlife. In contrast, the dry
wilderness of the interior is a challenging environment
for any animal. The rocky terrain, heat, and lack of
humidity allow only the toughest creatures to survive.
Yet the peninsula boasts some unusual animals that
have specially adapted to its harsh conditions.
Manta rays weighing up to a
ton can be seen soaring out of
the water off the Baja's south-
ern tip. Sharks collect in rich
waters containing 800 species
of fish. Flying fish are frequent-
ly seen fleeing from albacore
and yellowfin tunas, which leap
from the water to catch them.
Orca and sperm whales gath-
er in coastal waters along with
porpoises and totuavas weigh-
ing up to 300 pounds. Marlins,
sailfish, roosterfish, and sardines
are common, as are 2,000 or
so invertebrate species.
Front cover:
Boojum trees
grow in Baja
California. They
are named for
imaginary trees
from stories by
Lewis Carroll.
Front inset
left: To escape
the heat, the
spadefoot toad
hides under the
Front inset
right: On
Santa Guada-
lupe Island, the
Guadalupe fur
seal is a pro-
tected species.
Overfishing once threatened
the billfish in southern Baja, but
conservation efforts have stabi-
lized its population. The dol-
phin fish is also hunted, but its
fighting ability has helped to
protect it. Seals were at one
time hunted almost to extinc-
tion along the Baja coast. But
ever since one herd on Santa
Guadalupe Island received
protection, the seal popula-
tion has increased.
Right: Despite its name, the Santa
Catalina rattlesnake has no rattle
in its tail.

Quails and doves live in the
Baja's damp wooded valleys,
but most birds are found on
the coast, where food and
water are more plentiful.
Brown pelicans crowd the
coast, along with Heermann's
gull and the western gull. Other
gulls spend the winter in the
Baja, as does the American

Bighorn sheep, pumas, and
wildcats live in the mountains
of the northern Baja. Hunting
has thinned their numbers, so
they are rarely seen. To the
south, mule deer and black-
tailed jackrabbits survive in
wooded valleys.
Kangaroo rats are able to
thrive in Baja California be-
cause they do not need to
drink water. They get mois-
ture from plants, mostly at
night. By day they shelter in
burrows. Other rodents in-
Left: A jackrabbit's big ears help it
lose heat from its body in the Baja's
high temperatures.
white pelican. Terns such as the
elegant and Caspian terns are
year-round visitors.
The Baja's birds have most
to fear from the magnificent
frigatebird, which forces them
to drop their catches of fish.
Turkey vultures are seen in the
arid interior, gliding low as they
search for dead animals.
habit the dry central region of
Baja California, but few live in
the south.
Wi ld burros abound in the
south near Loreto. Some bur-
ros have mated with wild
horses to produce a tough,
sure-footed mule well suited
to the rugged environment.
The free-ta iled bat and the
Mexican long-nosed bat both
frequent the area. The bull-
dog bat skims the waters sur-
rounding rocky islands in the
gulf, snatching small fish.
Right: A kangaroo rat is rarely seen
during the day because it goes un-
derground to escape the heat.
Left: The
brown pelican
flocks along the
coast of the
Baja, preying
on many of
the fish that
abound there.
It is unique
cans because
it plunge-dives
into the water
to catch fish.
Scorpions on the Baja grow up
to six inches long. Some are
dark, while others are reddish
brown or sand colored. A few
have a deadly sting, but they
attack only if cornered.
Several species of rattlesnakes
live on the Baja. The Santa Cat-
alina is the most unusual be-
cause it has no rattle in its tail
and gives no warning sound
when threatened. Instead, it
moves its tongue from side to
side and shakes its tail silently.
Like other rattlesnakes, it does
not rely on sight to protect
itself. It senses the body heat
of a nearby animal and then
strikes instinctively.
The red diamondback rattle-
snake grows to nearly six and
a half feet, and it has a deadly
bite. The red racer, a nonpoi-
sonous snake found mainly in
the north, shakes its taillike a
rattlesnake and can climb trees
quickly when trapped.
The spadefoot toad has been
able to adapt to the extreme
heat. It stays underground, sit-
ting trancelike in a cool burrow,
and emerges only when it rains.
Sagebrush is probably the most abundant shrub in the western
United States. This silvery, gray-green plant dominates vast plains,
covering millions of acres on some of North America ~ driest land.
: " ~ - - - - - - - -
! \ ~ Montana
- - - - - ~ '/ \
Oregon / '\, ~
(Idaho ,_ u.
I ~ - - "1--- - ------
- I I
; -----J_ !
----1-- ___ i
Nevada / ! Wyoming
: Utah
\ ,
\ \ ~ , Arizona
Between the Rocky Mountains
and the West Coast's Sierra
Nevada and Cascade Moun-
tain Range lies some of North
America's bleakest terrain. Win-
ters are cold, summers are hot,
and rainfall is scarce through-
out the year. The landscape in-
cludes broad valleys separated
by low mountain ranges and
high, windswept plateaus. In
some places rivers flow down
from the hills, but they evapo-
rate and disappear before they
find an outlet to the sea.
Much of this region is too
dry for most plants, including
grass. But even though there is
very little rain, the soil is fertile
in many areas. One plant that
has been able to flourish un-
• Because most of Nevada lies
in the heart of the sagebrush
plains, it is known as the Sage-
brush State. Sagebrush is the
state flower, even though the
flowers are inconspicuous.
• Wormwood, a close Euro-
-- -/-------
!New Mexico
Right: Some of
the largest sage-
brush plants can
be found along
riverbeds in Ne-
vada. When the
river is not flow-
ing, there is wa-
ter underground.
der these unusual conditions is
big sagebrush.
The largest of the sagebrush
species in the West, big sage-
brush is also known as com-
mon, black, or blue sagebrush
-or just sagebrush. It belongs
to the sunflower family.
Although sagebrush is usual-
ly less than five feet tall, it some-
times grows into a small tree.
Its crushed leaves have a pun-
gent odor, and the entire plant
pean relative of sagebrush, is
the primary ingredient in ab-
sinthe, which is a toxic and il-
legal liqueur.
• The Cahuilla Indians of Cal-
ifornia brewed a tea from the
leaves of sagebrush and used it
is highly inflammable. In the fall,
long clusters of small, brown-
ish flowers appear, providing
bees with their last source of
nectar before winter.
Sagebrush grows only on fer-
tile soil, so its presence is con-
sidered a good indication that
the land is suitable for grazing
and irrigation farming. The
foliage of sagebrush provides
food for cattle as well as many
wild animals.
to relieve the symptoms of
colds and to treat sore eyes.
• The name sagebrush comes
from the cooking herb called
sage--a member of the mint
family. Sagebrush and sage
have similar odors.
0160200831 PACKET 83
Big, or common, sagebrush is a characteristic plant
of the American West. This evergreen shrub may grow in
isolated clumps on the prairie or on a huge plain made
up only of sagebrush. Many wild animals depend on it
for food or shelter, and some are even named after it.
The most spectacular mammal
of the sagebrush plains is the
pronghorn, which is able to
get much of the moisture it
needs from plants. It is espe-
cially fond of sagebrush leaves.
About the size of a goat, the
pronghorn is the fastest land
mammal in North America. An
adult is able to attain a speed
of more than 60 miles an hour.
When it is only four days old,
a pronghorn kid can already
outrun a human adult. Unlike
Above: The horns of the pronghorn
consist of a bony core and a hard
sheath that is replaced each year.
Front cover: Oregon's sagebrush
plains are in the eastern part of the
state. The coyote (inset) is a com-
mon predator on sagebrush plains.
its parents, which are a tan
color, the kid at first has gray
fur, which helps camouflage it.
Townsend's ground squirrel
is the most prevalent squirrel
in the sagebrush plains. This
rodent has adapted to the cli-
mate by sleeping in the hot
summer months and spend-
ing the winter in hibernation.
It is active for only five months,
from February to June.
One of the habitat's primary
predators is the coyote, which
feeds on pronghorn kids, rab-
bits, and rodents. The American
badger is the main threat to
ground squirrels in the area.
Another predator is the long-
tailed weasel, which kills ani-
mals up to the size of rabbits.
At first glance there seem to
be few birds in the sagebrush
plains, but three species are so
closely associated with sage-
brush that they are named for
it. The largest of these birds is
the sage grouse, whose gray-
ish brown coloring blends in
with the shrub. In winter this
Above: Town-
send's ground
squirrel feeds on
a wide variety
of seeds and
fruits. In addi-
tion, it some-
times catches
Right: The male
sage grouse is
larger than the
female. For his
courtship dis-
play, he fans
his tail feath-
ers, inflates the
air sacs on his
chest, and raises
the plumes on
his neck.
bird feeds only on sagebrush
leaves, depending on the plant
for survival. During the rest of
the year it uses the sagebrush
for cover.
The sage thrasher nests only
in the sagebrush plains, but it
migrates south into other des-
ert areas for the winter. Early in
the morning, from the top of
big sagebrush, the male lets
out a song resembling that of
a mockingbird.
The shy sage sparrow spends
most of its time on the ground.
It keeps out of sight of its pred-
ators by running underneath
sagebrush. It also usually hides
its nest in this plant.
The turkey vulture, red-tailed
hawk, and common raven fly
above the sagebrush plains in
search of food. Two other birds
that can be seen in this habitat
are the loggerhead shrike and
black-throated sparrow.
Right: The red-
tailed hawk likes
to hunt in open
country for mam-
mals, birds, and
reptiles. It is the
most common
bird of prey in
the sagebrush
Sagebrush country has its own
unique assortment of lizards.
The sagebrush lizard likes sun-
ny spots between clumps of
sage, where it feeds on insects
and spiders. When it is fright-
ened, it darts under the brush,
or it may even climb up into
the branches. The leopard liz-
ard moves quickly from bush
to bush searching for insects.
The short-horned lizard-mis-
takenly called a horned toad-
looks for ants and other prey
during the heat of midday.
Right: The six-
inch-long sage-
brush lizard
hunts mostly
on the ground
but may climb
into sagebrush
for insects.
Left: Although
the adult sage-
brush thrasher
eats fruit during
winter, it feeds
its young almost
nothing but in-
sects. The grow-
ing birds need
this source of
Several snakes prey on the
lizards, including the striped
whipsnake, the western patch-
nosed snake, the long-nosed
snake, and the night snake.
As its name implies, the night
snake hunts at night, using its
poisonous saliva to disable its
prey. It is distinguished by its
vertical pupils.
The only snake species that
is dangerous to humans is the
western rattlesnake. It is more
aggressive than the closely re-
lated timber rattlesnake.
'" CARD 18
An immense forest of spruce, fir, and pine extends from Alaska to
Newfoundland, a distance of more than 4, 000 miles. Called the
boreal forest, it is one of the largest habitats in North America.
The boreal forest is named af-
ter Boreas, the Greek god of
the north wind. Most of the
land on which this forest grows
was released from the grip of
the Ice Age only 1 0,000 years
ago. As a result, there has not
been enough time for much
topsoil to accumulate, and the
bedrock is exposed in many
places. The trees cling to a lay-
er of very acid soil that is just a
few inches deep.
Winters are long and cold,
with average temperatures of
0° to - 20° F. The growing sea-
son is short, with the average
temperature in mid-July rang-
ing from 50° to 70° F.
There is no shortage of water,
however. Evaporation is slow in
this cold region. More rain and
snow fall than can be drained
away by streams. Because of
these conditions, the boreal for-
est is dotted with thousands of
lakes, bogs, and marshes.
Because it has poor soil and a
cold climate, people have not
disturbed the boreal forest as
much as some other habitats.
Most of the terrain is unsuit-
able for agriculture, so human
interference has come primar-
ily from the fur-trapping and
lumber industries. The biggest
trees-mostly white pines-
disappeared in the 1800s, but
the land is still densely forested.
Today a new threat looms
over the boreal forest. Acid
rain is produced by sulfur di-
oxide and other chemicals re-
leased into the atmosphere by
automobiles and certain indus-
tries. If the water in a lake be-
comes too acid, many small
creatures disappear, and the
larger ones that depend on
them soon disappear as well.
In addition, acid rain kills trees
by burning their foliage and by
destroying soil fungi that make
nutrients available to plants. As
a result of acid rain, many lakes
in the southeastern boreal for-
est are already lifeless, and parts
of the boreal forest may soon
become a biological desert.
Left: Most of
the trees in the
boreal forest are
conifers such as
firs and spruces,
but there are al-
so scatterings of
aspens and oth-
er broad-leaved
trees. Near Lake
Superior, for ex-
ample, spruces
are interspersed
with aspens.
Above: Several trees in this forest
in Quebec are dying from the ef-
fects of acid rain.
0160200851 PACKET 85
The boreal forest grows on poor soil in a cold climate.
Few animals or plants can tolerate such conditions, so
the sources of food for some boreal animals are limited.
If the population of any food species drops, the numbers
of other species that depend on it may also decline.
Like most predators in the bo-
real forest, the lynx captures
only a few types of animal. This
forest-dwelling cat's favorite
prey is the snowshoe hare. If
the numbers of the hare drop
sharply, as they do about once
every 10 years, the lynx is left
with very little to eat and its
numbers decline as well.
The northern goshawk also
relies mainly on the snowshoe
hare. But if the hare's numbers
drop, the goshawk does not
have to stay in the area and
starve. Instead, the bird flies
Front cover:
In the United
States the bore-
al forest occurs
only in several
northern states
that border on
Canada, such
as Maine.
Front cover in-
set: The north-
ern goshawk is
a powerful bird
of prey. In ad-
dition to snow-
shoe hares, it
feeds on grouse.
Right: The lynx
is well adapted
for hunting in
snow. Using its
relatively large
feet as snow-
shoes, it is able
to walk on firm
crusts of snow.
farther south, staging an irrup-
tion (irregular migration) in or-
der to search for other prey.
Many small birds depend on
conifer seeds for food during
the winter. After several years
of good cone crops, the num-
bers of crossbills, pine siskins,
red-breasted nuthatches, and
other species are at a peak. If
the cone crop then fails, these
birds irrupt like the goshawk.
At times they may even travel
as far south as Georgia or Flor-
ida in search of an adequate
food supply.
Above: The
moose, the larg-
est deer in the
world, is found
throughout the
boreal forest. In
summer it feeds
mainly on juicy
aquatic plants.
Right: Another
name for the
snowshoe hare
is the varying
hare, because it
changes color
with the seasons
for camouflage.
In winter it is
white and in
summer brown.
The northern hawk owl is well
named, for while it is an owl, it
acts more like a hawk. It hunts
by day, watching for prey from
an exposed perch and darting
down to snatch its victim. In
summer it feeds on small mam-
mals and certain insects, but
when winter comes it kills birds.
Even in winter there is an ad-
equate supply of birds in the
boreal forest for the hawk owl
to eat. It rarely migrates, unlike
birds that rely on conifer seeds.
The hawk owl usually makes
its nest in a tree hole, where
the female lays between three
and ten eggs. Both parents in-
cubate the eggs, but the female
does most of this task. Incuba-
tion begins as soon as the first
egg is laid, so the first chick to
hatch is larger, giving it an ad-
vantage if food is scarce. It may
eat so much of what its parents
bring that the younger chicks
sometimes starve.
Young owls that survive stay
with their parents until the fol-
lowing spring, forming a fami-
ly group. But the family may
break up if food is so scarce
that even the hawk owl must
travel south to survive.
The boreal forest is dominated
by evergreens. Because these
trees keep their needles all win-
ter, they can begin absorbing
light and producing carbohy-
drates as soon as the first warm
days of spring arrive.
The most widespread coni-
fers, or cone-bearing trees, in
the boreal forest are the shape-
ly white spruce and the black
spruce. The white spruce likes
dry soil and can grow to 75
feet. The smaller black spruce
thrives in moist soil and can be
found in bogs. The fragrant
balsam fir is common in the
eastern part of the boreal forest.
The white pine was once the
largest tree of the boreal forest,
reaching 100 feet or more. But
before the 20th century many
of these giants were cut down
for masts or lumber. Today the
white pine is slowly recovering.
Not all the trees are conifers.
Quaking aspens, balsam pop-
lars, and paper birches are also
common. In the southeastern
region, the boreal forest meets
and mingles with forests of de-
ciduous trees, which shed their
leaves. There oaks, ashes, and
maples appear.
Left: A common
resident of the
boreal forest is
the red-breasted
nuthatch which
specializes in re-
moving seeds
from the cones
of spruces and
other conifers. It
also takes insects
from crevices in
the bark.
Left: The north-
ern hawk owl
preys primarily
on small rodents
and birds, but it
sometimes cap-
tures grasshop-
pers and other
large insects. It
swallows its food
whole and later
coughs up undi-
gested bones, fur,
or feathers in a
Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts, is like thousands of
New England ponds. It has become famous because the naturalist
Henry David Thoreau described it in his book Walden.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
Before 1845 Walden Pond was
indistinguishable from any oth-
er glacial pond that existed in
New England, a region that is
dotted with thousands of lakes
and ponds. But then the natu-
ralist Henry David Thoreau put
up a cabin near Walden's shore
and lived there alone for over
two years. During that period
Thoreau took many notes for
his book Walden, in which he
discussed the pond, its wild-
life, and his own thoughts on
nature. Because of that book,
Thoreau and Walden Pond be-
came famous.
In Walden, Thoreau described
the changing seasons at the
pond, from the first signs of
spring to flocks of wild ducks
Today Walden Pond and the
wooded land surrounding it
are protected as the 411-acre
Walden Pond State Reservation.
Each year thousands of people
visit the pond to swim, picnic,
hike, and fish.
heralding fall to the breakup
of the ice at the end of winter.
While Thoreau lived at Walden
Pond, a pair of phoebes built a
nest in his cabin. There was also
a red squirrel that watched his
every move. When the weath-
er outside grew cold, several
white-footed mice moved in-
side to live with him.
NEW / __ I
• Lowel ,
Concord e

• Walden Pond
Trails wind along the shores
of the pond and lead into the
woods, where they meander
among pines, hemlocks, and
oaks. Visitors can still see de-
scendants of the phoebes, red
squirrels, ducks, white-footed
Above: The pink lady's slipper is a
member of the orchid family that
lives in oak woods in New England.
mice, and a number of other
animals that lived in the woods
more than 150 years ago. Even
though the surrounding area
has undergone increasing de-
velopment, much of the wild-
life remains unchanged.
Although there are a large
number of small glacial ponds
like Walden throughout New
England, most of these are not
protected. Walden provides an
opportunity to see some of the
birds, fish, and other wild ani-
mals that are threatened by
continuing development in
this area.
Left: In the fall the red squirrel
collects nuts and seeds, which it
lives on during the winter. It does
not hibernate, but it may remain
in its den on very cold days.
0160200841 PACKET 84
Walden Pond lies in a depression left by a block of ice
when the last continental ice sheet melted away less
than 75,000 years ago. Like other glacial ponds in New
England, it is rich in wildlife, with a variety of fish and
water birds. To the many people that visit the pond each
yea" it is a symbol of the simple wonders of nature.
The woods surrounding Wal-
den Pond are almost the same
now as they were in the mid-
19th century. A major excep-
tion is the American chestnut,
which was common in the
1850s but was nearly wiped
out by a blight in the early
1900s. The white oak has al-
so become scarcer, in part
because of the demand for
its durable wood.
Front cover: The woods go right
to the edge of Walden Pond.
Front inset: The northern water
snake is common in New England.
It feeds on fish and amphibians.
The remaining trees, how-
ever, have not changed for
centuries. They are typical of
the dry, well-drained soils of
eastern Massachusetts. Eastern
white pines, eastern hemlocks,
red maples, white and black
birches, red and black oaks,
and hickories can all be found
near Walden Pond.
Beneath these trees grow
huckleberries, chokeberries,
blueberries, hazelnuts, and a
host of wildflowers. One flow-
er that is just as common now
as it was in the 1800s is the
pink lady's slipper, an orchid.
Walden Pond covers 61 acres
and goes down 1 02 feet at its
deepest point. Like many oth-
er glacial ponds, Walden con-
tains water that is clear and
relatively sterile. There are few
of the aquatic plants like duck-
weed or algae that are com-
mon in other types of ponds.
Walden attracts a variety of
insects, including dragonflies,
mayflies, stone flies, and water
striders. It is also full of fish, in
part because it is one of the
most heavily stocked ponds in
Left: Although the white-footed
mouse usually eats seeds, it may
switch to berries when they be-
come abundant in the fall.
the area. The yellow perch is a
common fish in this and near-
ly every other New England
pond. The small-mouth bass
and smelt are also common in
the area. In addition, Walden
contains introduced species
such as the rainbow trout and
brown trout.
In spring and summer the
booming mating call of the
male bullfrog can be heard,
although it has become rel-
atively rare at Walden Pond.
In early spring, however, it is
still common to hear the duck-
like, quacking courtship calls of
wood frogs that gather in wet
places near the pond.
Left: The double-
crested cormo-
rant is a skilled
diver and catches
fish with its long,
hooked bill.
Below: The so-
called horns of
the great horned
owl are merely
tufts of feathers.
They have noth-
ing to do with
~ B I R D S
Most of the water birds that
visit Walden Pond are typical
of the birds found near New
England glacial ponds. Mal-
lards and spotted sandpipers
nest in the area, and solitary
sandpipers, greater yellowlegs,
belted kingfishers, and some-
times Canada geese may stop
at the pond when migrating.
Although some water birds
have disappeared in the last
century, others have increased.
Attracted by food in a nearby
garbage dump, many herring
Left: The bullfrog
is the largest frog
in the northeast-
ern United 5tates.
It has been ob-
served taking
prey as large as
a small bird.
and ring-billed gulls now stop
to bathe in the pond's clean
water. The double-crested cor-
morant, a protected species,
has increased throughout New
England and often appears on
the pond.
The great horned owl-the
largest owl in New England-
is found in the woods around
Walden Pond. Other birds that
breed in the woods include
the white-breasted nuthatch,
eastern phoebe, warbling vir-
eo, and red-eyed vireo.
Left: Like other
flycatcher species,
the eastern phoe-
be sits on an ex-
posed perch and
watches for pass-
ing prey. It eats
beetles, wasps,
ants, flies, and a
variety of other
insects. At times
it may even catch
fish in shallow
"'CARD 20
If the winding shores of all the peninsulas, bays, inlets, and islands
were stretched out in a line, M a i n e ~ coast would measure 2,500
miles-equal to the airline distance from New York to Los Angeles.
During the last Ice Age, Maine
was covered by an immense
mass of ice. The weight of this
ice forced the land downward
as much as 300 feet. When all
the ice finally melted approxi-
mately 15,000 years ago, the
land began to rise again.
But the melting ice caused
the level of the sea to rise even
faster. The sea spread far in-
land, flooding land that had
As the tide rises and falls, it
leaves pools of seawater in
every rocky depression large
enough to hold water. These
tide pools are special marine
environments. They are ex-
posed to blazing sunlight and
are subject to evaporation. As
a result, the water is some-
times much saltier than the
seawater a few feet away.
Any plant or animal that can
endure such conditions thrives
in tide pools. They are good
places to find marine life with-
out wading or swimming in
the cold waters of the ocean.
Green seaweeds, sponges, sea
anemones, periwinkles, sea
been covered by ice. The gra-
nite headlands (bits of high
land jutting into the water)
and rocky islands that are so
common in Maine today are
actually the wave-washed tops
of hills. Maine's numerous bays
and inlets are valleys drowned
by the sea.
Farther south on the conti-
nent, in areas that were not
reached by the great sheet of
urchins, starfish, crabs, and
even minnows can all be seen
Above: At Bass Harbor Head on
Mount Desert Island, as well as
many other places along Maine's
coast, the spruces grow within a
few feet of the salt water.
ice, the land was never forced
downward. As a result, when
the sea rose, it flooded a gent-
Iy sloping coastal plain and
created the smooth, straight
beaches that are found from
Cape Cod to Florida.
living together in one of these
natural aquariums.
Left: In a typical
tide pool on the
Maine coast, the
common peri-
winkle is often
the most abun-
dant animal. The
periwinkle is a
grazer that feeds
on algae grow-
ing on the rocks.
0160200801 PACKET 80
Most of the seacoast of the eastern United States consists
of smooth, sandy beaches. But between Cape Elizabeth
and the Canadian border, the Maine shoreline is rocky.
This rugged coast is home to a variety of animals and
plants that are not found anywhere else in the East.
Along Maine's tidal shoreline
there are several distinct zones.
The first, exposed only by the
very lowest tides, is the kelp
zone, where brown kelp and
other seaweeds never dry out.
Just above this area is the red
algae zone, where Irish moss
and a few other seaweeds are
briefly exposed at low tide.
Still higher is the brown algae
zone, where rockweeds are ex-
posed for several hours at low
tide. These seaweeds provide
shelter for snails, mussels, and
crabs when the tide is out.
Front cover:
There are many
small, rocky is-
lands along the
Maine coast.
Front insets:
The Jonah crab
(left) is the most
common crab in
Maine. The har-
bor seal (right)
is the only com-
mon seal on the
northeastern U.S.
coast. Its color-
ing varies.
Right: Green sea
urchins and the
closely related
starfish live in
tide pools.
Above the brown algae zone
is the barnacle zone-a narrow
white band where thousands
of barnacles crowd together
on the rocks. These tiny crus-
taceans do all their feeding at
high tide.
The highest zone is the well-
named black zone, a slippery
band of dark, microscopic al-
gae that are tough enough to
survive in a place where sea-
water bathes them for only a
few hours a day. Beyond this is
bare rock, washed only now
and then by salt spray.
Maine's coastal islands offer ex-
cellent nesting sites for seabirds.
Many of these islands are miles
from shore, so few predators
other than humans disturb the
birds. The birds arrive in spring,
lay their eggs, raise their young,
and depart in late summer.
The most common seabirds
are gulls and double-crested
cormorants, but there are two
spectacular species that are
more abundant farther north.
Left: The Atlantic
puffin dives from
either the air or
land to catch
mollusks, small
fish, and crusta-
ceans underwa-
ter. It is able to
hold one fish,
such as a rock
eel, while catch-
ing another. It
can gather as
many as a doz-
en fish at once
in this way.
Right: Colorful
northern red
anemones are
found under-
water, beyond
the low tidemark
on Maine's coast.
The Arctic tern can be identi-
fied by its forked tail, black cap,
and blood-red bill. After nest-
ing on Maine's islands, it travels
all the way to Antarctica.
The Atlantic puffin was once
nearly wiped out in Maine but
has now been reestablished in a
few places. It is rarely seen from
shore, but this comical "sea par-
rot" with its boldly patterned
bill may be glimpsed on a sum-
mer boat trip to the islands.
left: In its nest-
ing colonies on
Maine's islands,
the Arctic tern
often sits on a
rock close to its
nest while its
mate incubates
the eggs.
Maine's most famous animal is
probably the northern lobster,
which is sometimes called the
"Maine lobster." Lobster pots
and colorful pot buoys are a
familiar sight along the entire
rocky coast. The lobsters them-
selves are familiar to diners in
many American restaurants.
Lobsters are crustaceans that
are related to crabs and cray-
fish. They are primarily scav-
engers but may also prey on
shellfish, using their large claws
to crush the animal's shell.
At the start of its life, a lob-
ster is only about a quarter of
an inch long, but it never stops
growing. There are records of
lobsters living for 100 years
and reaching a length of four
feet. These giants live in deep
water close to the edge of the
continental shelf. The smaller
lobsters that are trapped com-
mercially live closer to shore.
For years the number of lob-
sters steadily declined, but now
trapping is carefully managed
and the numbers are rising.
left: When not
actively hunting,
the northern lob-
ster lurks in the
crevices among
the rocks. A lob-
ster turns entirely
red only after it
has been boiled.
In the wild it is
mainly a mottled
olive green.