Research and Fun Facts

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Got a decent bit done this week, chapter 16-17 has been critiqued, and chapter 18 is ready to send off. I also did a good bit of research this week to add some realistic detail to the coming chapters and make sure I’m not completely making stuff up.

I also summarized ‘the story so far’ to send out to my kind alpha readers, who have been very patient so far. Since I tend to be overly obscure and ‘subtle’ in my first drafts, I hope that clarifying the things that I intended to have established by this point will help minimize hair loss via frustration while reading the next chapters.

This was a research-filled week, as I read up on avian flight for work (that’s our volunteer education topic for the week). I enjoy researching these things far too much; there is always the possibility that I won’t come back when I start looking things up. Wikipedia, for all its unreliability, is very user-friendly, and I can never stop clicking the linked words. And once you read one chapter in The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior or the Manual of Ornithology, you can’t really stop there. There are just so many fun pictures. I realize I’m a dork.

I like to learn silly little facts and share them with people, just to prove how much of a dork I am. For example:

Did you know that unlike most rabbits, the Nuttall’s Cottontail (aka Mountain Cottontail), is known to climb trees? It is frequently seen climbing juniper to reach the moisture that the succulent leaves extrude at dawn.

How about the fact that if you have a skunk visiting your yard regularly in hot, dry summer months, the best thing to do is to stop watering your lawn? Skunks love invertebrates, and they especially like the snails and slugs that you encourage by keeping things so nice and moist.

Or that the Northern Short-tailed Shrew has poisonous saliva that can paralyze or kill insects, invertebrates, or even larger prey such as mice. The pics below are from a N. Short-tailed Shrew I raised and released in MI in 2008.

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