Did You Know? with Mike Freidlin
May Day May Day!

May Day, May Day! In fact, there are thirty-one of them in the beautiful mid-spring month of May. May is a time for all the beauty the season of spring has to offer. From flowers to birds to butterflies to warm, sunny days, May has the charm to awaken the soul, from young to old. "What potent blood hath modest May" as Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently exclaims.

May at Indraloka Animal Sanctuary is as special as anywhere imaginable. The sanctuary, being a collection of fields, grasslands, and pastures, serves as an important resource for all the wonderful souls with whom Indraloka is called home. Be it the horses, the sheep, the pigs, the cows, or all the wild critters who frequent the sanctuary, the fields of Indraloka offer them peace, safety, and survival.

There are many in nature with whom the responsibility of "field maintenance" has been given. Our focus today...those mythical, magnificent, migrators...the birds. Birds play an important role in grassland ecosystems. Birds help control insects and rodents, and are major players in the recycling of nutrients. Another of the more vital roles performed by our frequent flyers is that of seed dispersers and flower pollinators. Grassland birds such as bobolinks, meadowlarks, and numerous sparrows nest in grasses and disperse seeds in the process...a critically important function. Just ask any of the horses, cows, or sheep at the sanctuary. Birds as pollinators are equally important, as activities such as feeding and nest building send pollen on their reproductive journeys, to the delight of sanctuary residents be they wild or otherwise. As farms and cities flourish, grasslands have decreased. Tallgrass prairies are among our most endangered habitats.
Prairie birds have shown the most sustained population declines of any bird group in North America. Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, by allowing the natural, organic maintenance of grasslands, not only promotes the conservation of grassland birds, but also provides other environmental benefits, including soil health, water quality, habitat preservation and growth of native species. May just might be an ideal time visit the sanctuary. Just for fun, here are ten feathery species easily seen in and around the fields of May at Indraloka Animal Sanctuary.

  1. Eastern Bluebird                        6.  Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
  2. Rose-breasted Grosbeak             7.  Common Yellowthroat
  3. Eastern Meadowlark                   8.  Bobolink
  4. Red-winged Blackbird                 9.  Eastern Kingbird
  5. Indigo Bunting                           10.  Yellow Warbler
DYK Quiz for the Month

Almost all birds have an extremely keen sense of sight. Owl eyes can see in the near absence of light. One species of bird, however, is completely blind and finds food exclusively by sense of smell. Which do you think?
  1. Vulture
  2. Kiwi
  3. Stork
  4. Toucan
The answer will be next month's DYK

The answer to last month's quiz:

Which mountain claims the title of the planet's tallest?
  1. Mauna Kea
  2. Mount Everest
  3. Mount Fuji
  4. Mount Kilimanjaro
The answer is Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Mount Everest stands 29,035 feet above sea level. Mauna Kea only stands 13,796 feet above sea level, but the mountain extends about 19,700 feet below the Pacific Ocean. Over half of it is submerged. That puts the total height of Mauna Kea at about 33,500 feet - nearly a mile taller than Everest!

Until next month,
About Mike

Mike Freidlin is a naturalist, athlete, vegan animal rights activist, and environmental science educator with 35 years of teaching experience. In his role as middle and high school science teacher for the Abington Heights, Pennsylvania school district. Mike acted as the Middle and High School Ecology Club Advisor, and led more than 700 student members of the Tropical Rainforest Ecology Club on trips to such destinations as Panama, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, where they learned about rainforest protection, the rights and concerns of animals and indigenous communities, and students' roles and responsibilities as global citizens. Mike has served on Board of Directors for Lackawanna Audubon Society and Save The Rainforest.

Mike generously shares his knowledge and expertise with the sanctuary and our supporters for all of us to benefit from the power of connecting more deeply with our planet. Enjoy!

Indraloka Animal Sanctuary  | Mehoopany, PA | www.indraloka.org

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