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iTwixie Studies Prairie Dogs: Week Eleven!
May 13, 2010


Right now the Prairie Dog Expert Team is watching for behavior that might never happen. If it happens there will be not much warning. They are watching for invading predators (eagles, hawks, weasels, badgers) or prairie dogs going into burrows that are not theirs. Talking on the walkie talkies and watching for new birds and other animals helps.

Just click on these links to catch up with what’s been going on with iTwixie’s prairie dog study:

Researcher Notes:

  • A birth rate of 100% (34/34) for our females in 2010 is the highest ever — for white-tails or for any of the other species of prairie dogs that I have studied.
  • Babies will appear aboveground in about 18-20 more days. The oldest babies are now about 50 centimeters (2 inches) long, weigh  about 50 grams (2 ounces), and are covered by short gray fur that resembles peach-fuzz.
  • It’s been a tough week for the Wyoming ground  squirrels.  We observed one predation by a common raven, and several  other predations by Swainson’s hawks.  Because of their larger size,  healthy white-tail prairie dogs are safe from predation by common ravens and Swainson’s  hawks.
  • New avian (bird) sightings over the last week include American widgeon, great blue heron, horned grebe, lark sparrow, lesser yellowlegs, loggerhead shrike, song sparrow, and white-faced ibis.

Now, it’s YOUR turn:

Time’s running out! All of the baby prairie dogs have been born, sooo…

Don’t forget to send in YOUR guess for how many prairie dog pups will be born this season! Just write your estimation below in the comment section! Remember there are about 34 female prairie dogs in this prairie dog town.

The girl with the closest estimate of pups born this season will get a prairie dog t-shirt. Woo hoo!

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