Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why the Pink or the Reddish Color?

Inhabitants of warm tropical weather, Flamingos are the most recognizable birds within their class with their vibrant feathers, long legs, and hook like beaks. Their diets are high in beta-carotene, which give them their pink or reddish pigments. Their diets usually consist of blue green algae, mollusks, and crustaceans.

They gather their food in a way that is distinct from other birds. Flamingos feed by sucking water and mud in the front of its bill and pumping it out again of the sides. They have filters that trap shrimp and other creatures for them to eat.

They live in large groups. Tens of thousands of birds can live together. They breed in pairs. However, it’s interesting to note that the birds within a single colony will breed at the same time, so the young will be raised at the same time. They live in mud mounds that are usually 12 inches high. The nest is created by the bird’s beak. They draw mud to their feet since they lay a single large egg that is incubated by both parents.

Flamingos need to run to get speed in order to fly. In order to fly, they must flap their wings continuously. They often fly in large flocks. Flamingos tend to have few predators as they live in places that are inhospitable such as mangrove lagoons, inter tidal zones, tidal flats, and lakes. Habitat areas vary from inland to the various areas of the ocean.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Unwinding from Holiday Stress

Another year passed. It’s that time of the year again. Everyone is hustling around trying to get their holiday gifts, planning dinners and events, and entertaining without going over budget. However, with the holidays, anxiety and depression come because of people’s expectations. Holidays can also be distressing especially if a loved one has passed on, a recent separation or divorce occurred, or if two people in the family are at odds with one another.

To help reduce holiday stressors, try doing some of the following:
Find a support structure of family and friends
Realize these gatherings are only once or twice a year for a few hours
Delegate responsibility. You can’t do all of the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and entertaining.
Goal and budget planning are a huge part of the process
Indulge yourself in something you’ve always wanted such as a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, or those Jimmy Choos you’ve been eyeing for the last three months.
Use your alone time to decompress and de-stress by taking a bubble bath or yoga class

While shopping, you should also take time to laugh and enjoy the scenery of the holidays. Stop by the Wild Jungle Chick store at 2300 Gulf Blvd in Indian Rocks Beach . To help reduce stress by making people laugh, local merchant, and resident, Karen Justice created a greeting card line. Her designs are created in tropical like settings often displaying two or three animals talking with one another. The backdrops are vibrant and often display multi-shades of blue, yellow, and red. The feel good and uplifting designs provide an instant vacation to everyone who sees them. Karen’s mission is to help local residents relax and see the humor in life’s comedy. She wants people to stop feeling frustrated and approach life in a more mirthful way.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Toucan

Indigenous to the lush South American tropical rain forests, the Toucan is recognized throughout the Americas, especially in the United States. Known for their unusual but unforgettably unique beaks, the function still has scientists puzzled. Scientists and researchers have studied the different functions, but have not been successful in determining it purpose, although they have determined it is not used as a weapon nor is it used to gather food.

Toucans primarily feed on fruit while snacking on an occasional lizard or insect. The bodies are compact as the wings are too. Scientists have determined that the wings were built to fly shorter distances than other birds in the rainforest.

Toucans are often paired off or travel in small groups. Determining the sex of a toucan has been difficult as the male and female bodies are practically identical.

Toucans have become one of the most popular birds in American popular culture. Many companies use it as a marketing tool as they have friendly dispositions, are aesthetically pleasing and embody a unique blend of characteristics. Moreover, they are starting to emerge as one of the most unique choices for bird pets. Additionally, they are often featured in various magazines, newspapers, advertisements, as well as many product lines such as in the Wild Jungle Chick greeting card line.

Vibrant colors, acumen, and the amusing traits these birds contain, have made toucans one the most admired birds in both the rain forest and American pop culture.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Endangered Species: How to Save the Florida Manatees

Known as sea cows, manatees are large gray mammals that inhabit shallow tropical waterways in Florida among other locations throughout South America and the western part of Africa. They have become icons throughout Florida as they are endangered.

As herbivores, they feed on vegetation such as turtle grass, manatee grass, shoal grass, mangrove leaves, and various strains of algae for an average of six to eight hours a day. However, there are times manatees feed on red algae, which is a toxic form of algae. Approximately 3,200 are in existence today, yet the number is decreasing significantly every year, even though federal and state laws have been established for their protection. Manatees have become endangered species from natural causes, American tourism, chemical pollution, water activities, motorized boats, and sports, entanglement in fishing lines, as well as the fishing industry. The destruction of habitat is the greatest threat.

Several laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978 have been passed to protect manatee survival and protect their habitats. The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was developed in 1973 to regulate trade of wildlife animals and protect their survival. Even though these laws are great, they do not seem to provide enough protection as the manatees are slowing becoming extinct. Natural causes of manatee fatalities include the consumption of toxic algae such as red tide, diseases, predation, and cold water.

Human related causes of death are motorized boats, chemical pollution, harassing manatees, American tourism, and the fishing industry. However, the ways individuals can help protect endangered species are by traveling through manatee zones with non-motorized boats or turning the engines off. Manatees are slow moving and often submerged in the water, which result in collisions with motorized boats. Because motorists don't pay attention, boat propellers cause deep wounds on their backs that lead to nasty viral infections and/or scarring.

Coastal Florida residents can help researchers establish protected manatee areas by reporting manatee sightings. Researchers will be able to establish the different routes manatees travel and will be able to have those areas labeled as manatee zones.

Donate to a reputable manatee charity such as Save the Manatee Club. They offer a variety of ways to raise money to help with injured manatees. Sea World is also another large organization that is committed to the conservation of manatees. The staff consists of biologists and veterinarians. They rescue and rehabilitate injured manatees.

Don't litter. Help keep the beach and coastal areas clean by picking up trash or debris. Fish hooks, fishing lines, or fishing nets contribute to endangering manatees as they often get entangled.

Swimmers should not commingle with manatees. Feeding manatees is another area of concern. Manatees feed on vegetation.

Visiting zoos is a way that funds are raised for the preservation of manatees as well as manatee research.

Many different companies have created manatee products that raise public awareness and educate the public about the preservation of the Florida manatee.