Questioning — New Year's Un-resolutions

I’m not good at setting goals for myself (he said, staring at a blinking alarm clock), but I’m pretty good at something else: creating questions.

That’s one of the great buzzes I get out of being a naturalist (especially a novice naturalist): everytime that I go out there, I come back with more new questions.

I’m sure most of you do too. So here’s my New Year’s discussion question:

What are some of your favourite questions from observing that you hope to find some answers to this year?


I have two questions I want to answer. The first is whether or not there are freshwater fish species remaining on the island where I live. I’m not sure how I’m going to do that yet.

The second is to find out what the ‘moss flippers’ are eating. Every spring birds like flickers and crows flip large patches of moss here. They seem to consistently search the same species of moss so I’m assuming that is the species their prey prefers. I’m guessing it is a grub of some source but so far I’ve had no success finding an example before the birds.


what eats moss? Seems like a generous food source for a tiny herbivore.

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This observation has me wondering what the maximum angle slope the average mallard would tolerate before flying away…

Edit: The unit would be called the MMA50 being the mallard maximum angle at which 50% of mallards slide off or fly away.

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Well if my Muscovy ducks are a model it depends on how slippery the surface is. On an icy horizontal surface they slip and slide like a toddler on roller skates but if the surface is grippy 45 degrees doesn’t phase them. Of course these are the same birds that think a stair step is an obstacle even though they regularly fly up onto the roof of the coop.

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How someone visiting the place find species (and in big numbers) I don’t see on a trail I visited hundreds of times.