EURASIAN or EUROPEAN BROWN BEAR (Ursus arctos arctos) - ©Laura Quick

The Eurasian brown bear has brown fur, which can shift from yellow-brownish to dark brown, red brown, and almost black in some cases; albinism has also been recorded. The fur is dense to varying degree and the hair can grow up to 10 cm in length.

The shape of the head is normally quite round with relatively small and round ears, a wide skull and a mouth equipped with 42 teeth, including predatory teeth.

It has a powerful bone structure, large paws, equipped with big claws, which can grow up to 10 cm in length.

The weight varies depending on habitat and time of the year. A full grown male weighs on average 265–355 kg (583-780 lb). The largest Eurasian brown bear recorded was 481 kg (1,058 lb) and was nearly 2.5 m (8.2 ft) long. Female 150–250 kg (330-550 lb) although weigh as little as 90 kg (200 lb) in the spring.

The bears east of Ural have to a larger extent brighter and more reddish colours. The Asian bears also seem to be more aggressive than the European bears.

Brown bears were present in Britain until around 500 A.D. when they were exterminated through hunting.

Eurasian brown bears were used in Ancient Rome for fighting in arenas. The strongest bears apparently came from Caledonia and Dalmatia.

In antiquity, the Eurasian brown bear was largely carnivorous, with 80% of its diet consisting of animal matter. However, as its habitat increasingly disappeared, meat consisted of only 40% of its dietary intake in the late Middle Ages, till modern times where meat now amounts to little more than 10-15% of its diet.

Unlike in America, where an average of two people a year are killed by bears, Scandinavia only has records of three fatal bear attacks in the last century.

NOTE: there is no click through link as this is my photo

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Big Horn Sheep and Coyote

Asian Black Bear

Moose and Calf

“Europe” Chicks
Surprise babies
©Laura Quick

So, while I was traveling in Europe, “Dude” my house sitter thought it was cool that one of the hens became broody and started sitting on a clutch of eggs. These 8 chicks, of unknown parentage, are the result. They are cute as can be and thriving, though I really didn’t need any more birds. Since I don’t know what breeds they are, I’m not certain that I can sex them as chicks and I’m already maxed out on roos. Side note: The gold chick on the far left has feathered feet and looks like a Buff Brahma - a plus as they are my favorite breed.

Ovis dalli
©Laura Quick

The Dall sheep (originally Dall’s sheep), is a species of sheep native to northwestern North America.

The sheep inhabit the mountain ranges of Alaska and Western Canada. Dall sheep are found in relatively dry country and try to stay in a special combination of open alpine ridges, meadows, and steep slopes with extremely rugged ground in the immediate vicinity, to allow escape from predators that cannot travel quickly through such terrain.

Male Dall sheep have thick curling horns. The females have shorter, slender, slightly curved horns. Males live in bands which seldom associate with female groups except during the mating season in late November and early December. Lambs are born in May.

During the summer when food is abundant, the sheep eat a wide variety of plants. The winter diet is more limited, and consists primarily of dry, frozen grass and sedge stems available when snow is blown off, lichen and moss. Many Dall sheep populations visit mineral licks during the spring, and travel many miles to eat the soil around the licks.

The primary predators of Dall Sheep are wolves, coyotes, black bears, and grizzly bears; golden eagles are predators of the young.

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Big Horn Sheep and Coyote

Dall Sheep (ewe and lamb)

Punjab Urial

WESTERN SCRUB JAY (Aphelocoma californica oocleptica) - ©Laura Quick

Editor Note: This is Cluckers one of two Scrub Jays that my parent’s have been hand-feeding peanuts for more than a decade now. The relationship that has developed between the birds and my parents is really quite extraordinary. When my Mom died last year, this photo was included in the collage of pictures celebrating her life.

Recent research has suggested that Western Scrub-Jays, along with several other corvids, are among the most intelligent of animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult Scrub Jays rivals that of chimpanzees and cetaceans, and is dwarfed only by that of humans. Scrub Jays are also the only non-primate shown to plan ahead for the future, which was previously thought of as a uniquely human trait. Other studies have shown that they can remember locations of over 200 food caches, as well as the food item in each cache and its rate of decay.

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Green Magpie

Male Painted Bunting

Europen Roller

GOLDEN RETRIEVER Puppy  ©Laura Quick

Requesed by @salsabilawrk who’s timing could not be better, as my friend, adopted Kylee, the Golden Retriever pictured above. Such a sweet puppy.

The Retriever’s intelligence and versatility suit the dogs well for a variety of roles including guide dog for the blind, hearing dog for deaf people, hunting dog, illegal drug detector, and search and rescue participant.

Because of their loyal and gentle temperament, golden retrievers are also popular family pets. They are consistently in the Top Ten popular family dog breeds (by registration) in the United States, Australia, and in the United Kingdom.

The temperament of the Golden Retriever is a hallmark of the breed and is described in the standard as “kindly, friendly and confident”. They are not “one man dogs” and are generally equally amiable with both strangers and those familiar to them. Their trusting, gentle disposition therefore makes them a poor guard dog.

By the time they reach maturity however, Goldens will have become active and fun-loving animals with the exceptionally patient demeanour befitting a dog bred to sit quietly for hours in a hunting blind. Adult Golden Retrievers love to work, and have a keen ability to focus on a given task.

Lots more info here

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Poodle Topiary by Tim Flach

Wearing her Poker Face by Ellen Jo Roberts

“You are getting very sleepy…” By Rebecca Richardson