If it looks cold in this picture, well, it was. The Wilds, a 10,000-acre former strip mine in Muskingum County, Ohio is wide open and windy. Braving the cold is worth it, as the birds are always interesting in any season, even winter.
I'm not sure if there is still space available, but you might check the Ohio Ornithological Society's website if you'd like to participate in a cool - literally - field trip to the Wilds in the company of many other cold-hardy souls. On January 15th, we'll have our annual foray there to seem raptors and other wintering birds. Just CLICK HERE for details.
I was at the Wilds last Sunday, where I made this interesting mouse observation. But I wasn't there for mice, although many of the birds that I sought were. It was the annual Chandlersville Christmas Bird Count, organized by Scott Albaugh, and I had the great fortune of being assigned to the innards of the Wilds. Jenise Bauman, their director of conservation science training, was my partner, and thus we had access to some areas not always open to visitors.
We encountered a few platoons of Wild Turkeys, including the rather fearless group above.
The Wilds is a large animal research and conservation facility; among the best of its kind anywhere in the world. During the warmer months, tours are offered that'll get you up close and personal with the inhabitants, and I'd highly recommend it.
P-Horses, along with many of the other 25 or so species maintained by the Wilds, hail from cold climates and are extremely tolerant of frigid weather. In fact, some of them probably thoroughly enjoy the cold.
Bactrian Camels are instantly recognizable to most people, because there are nearly 1.5 million domesticated camels and their images are commonly seen. But, it's vital to protect the wild ones, too. There is one other species of camel, the Dromedary Camel, which has but one hump.