Tag Archive | beloved beasts

Humble Bee

On Bee’s Knees  

Yellow-Banded Bumble Bee

Yellow-Banded Bumble Bee


Oh, I’m a humble bumble bee

A yellow-banded stumble bee

Our numbers tumble down so low

That crops will crumble as we go


My cousins fill up comb and hive  fig03

These busy buzzers work and strive

And honey is not all bees do

We pollinate the fruit trees too


But when you spray your pesticides

You kill the skill a bee provides

I’m begging you on bended knee

Don’t let this be the end of me


Save the bees! Please.  

– by Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud



The yellow banded bumble bee is in trouble. It used to be common in the United States and southern Canada, but now it is hard to find these busy little insects. These bees pollinate important plants like potatoes, tomatoes, alfalfa, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and other edible crops. Because bumble bees can fly in lower temperatures than other types of bees, they are important pollinators in northern, cooler climates.

The wild lands that support the bees have been disappearing. Herbicides and pesticides (sprays that kill weeds and insects)  have been killing the bees by making them weak and susceptible to disease. People can help to reverse the disappearance of bee populations by helping to create gardens and open plots of land that provide flowers and habitat to please the bees. We can stop using harmful pesticides and petition governments and stores to ban pesticides.

Bees need us and we need bees. Let’s help each other…. Please!

Here Be Dragons

If you have read “Princess Ramona, Beloved of Beasts,” then you know that this author has a soft spot for dragons… especially for dragons who realize that with great power comes great responsibility. In celebration of APPRECIATE A DRAGON DAY, January 16, here is a poem for our beloved endangered dragons:

Here Be Dragons

Do step lightly, brave explorers  HereBeDragons

On Komodo, and on Flores

Here be dragons


Basking boldly on the pink sands

Of these Indonesian islands

Here be dragons


Do step quickly if he sees you  komodopinksand

He will hunt you down and seize you

He’s a dragon


Forked tongue guides its destination

Gathering tasty information

Hunter dragon


Strange that such a massive creature  komodotongue

From its enemies needs shelter

Threatened dragon


There’s a chance that this Komodo

Still might vanish like the Dodo

No more dragons


Brave knights armed with information komodoprofile

Fight with heart and inspiration

Save the dragons!


Brave Knights of Science

Scientists are the brave knights of today’s world. They venture forth armed with research-backed information to try to save the last dragons of this earth. And the Komodo Dragons of Indonesia are, indeed, worth saving.

These giant reptiles can grow up to 10 feet or more (over 3 meters) and weigh over 360 pounds (163 kilos). True, they do not breathe fire or fly through the skies attacking cattle and villagers, but they are impressive hunters. They can run fast in short bursts up to 20 mph or 13 kilometers per hour. Komodo dragons knock the legs out from under their prey or rip straight into the belly. Their saliva carries a poison or toxin that has a blood-thinning effect on its victim causing the bite wound to continue to bleed. Although the intended prey may escape after being bitten, it usually dies sometime soon after the attack.

The long, deeply-forked tongue of the Komodo Dragon is very useful in tracking down the location of an escaped lunch. The Komodo flicks out its tongue and then draws it back into its mouth and brushes it along the roof of the mouth. If more scent molecules from the prey are detected with one side of the tongue, then the lizard will turn towards that side. It swings its head back and forth while it walks, all the while flicking its tongue in and out collecting scent information.

The Komodo Dragon, also known as the Monitor Lizard, is losing its space to live. It has to compete with humans for food in the wild; deer or other large animals. They will also eat things that have been dead for a while. They are not too picky.

Komodo Dragons mate and lay eggs, but interestingly enough, female Komodo Dragons are capable of fertilizing eggs inside their own bodies and laying those eggs without any help from a male. They may be capable of selecting the sex of the baby lizards as well. One female, Flora, who lived in Chester Zoo in England and had never been in contact with a male lizard, hatched out seven eggs, all of them male lizards.

Long live the resourceful Komodo Dragons!

How to Catch a Dragon…

For a fascinating story on Komodo dragon research check out this National Geographic article: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/komodo-dragon/holland-text

Taking the Turtle for a Walk!

Happy International Turtle Day!Koupa1

What? You didn’t know that May 23rd is “Be Kind to Turtles Day?”

Look it up. It’s true! Turtle Day has been celebrated since the year 2000. It was started by the American Tortoise Rescue and is now celebrated worldwide.



So in honor of this special day, our resident turtle, Koupa, was taken to the nearest river for his first ever river walk. He was delighted! See for yourself. I have posted a video of the big event. Koupa didn’t hoot and holler, of course, but he started to explore, even dug up a worm at the bottom of the creek and took a few bites out of leaves floating by.

It was lovely to see how instinctively he took to exploring the river. He walked along the bottom, swam in the current and even started to burrow into the side of the bank. I’m glad I didn’t let him get too far because he has very strong legs and it took a bit of pulling to get him out of his hole. He looked very smug and dashing as he emerged with his beret of mud perched jauntily on his little turtle head.

I kept the leash slack and let him explore at will. He took his time and swam slowly, but when I pulled on the leash a bit to lead him back to shore, he suddenly had an urgent desire to go the other way. I was as if he knew it was time to go and he didn’t want to leave. I don’t blame him. I wish I could have let him go, but I’m afraid he would not have survived long. This stream is daily combed through by little collectors who scoop tadpoles, fish and insects into their keeping cages. He would have been collected before the day was through. Maybe someday I can release him in southern Japan where a river runs wild. For now, he has been promised more frequent excursions to the river… not just on International Turtle Day.

Koupa is a Japanese Southern turtle, raised from egg by a family friend who owns a pig farm and a turtle sanctuary in Japan. This type of turtle is indigenous to parts of Japan south of Kyoto. He lives in a tank in our house, but we wish we could build him a large pool in the backyard. We are renting here, however, and the homeowner might not appreciate the tiny back garden being turned into a turtle pond.IMG_0095


Feathered Sanctuary

What do you do with a wounded wild bird? Adopt it as your own pet?HawkinTree

Bird rescue is a noble and worthy endeavor, but it is best to take your feathered friend to a sanctuary where it can be healed and, if possible, re-introduced into the wild. When we lived in California, we found a juvenile red-shouldered hawk that appeared to have been shot in the wing by a neighbor. We wrapped it in a towel and took it to a bird rescue center where it was treated and released.



Wounded birds need specialized care which is often impossible for untrained tender-hearted rescuers to provide.

Sanctuaries do a good job of treating their feathered patients. Here are some lovely residents of Florida’s Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary:


Seabird Sanctuary Slideshow

This one-winged white pelican goes to school… not to learn but to teach children about wild seabirds and what we can do to protect them and keep their environment safe and healthy. This large bird is a permanent resident at the sanctuary since he would not be able to survive in the wild on his own. If he were a healthy and strong white pelican, he would collaborate with his pelican friends in shallow water to gather fish into the middle of their floating formation so that they could easily scoop up their supper.

The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary in the United States of America and admits more than 10,000 birds each year to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. It is open every day of the year from 9:00 am until sunset.

“A wonderful bird is the pelican, His beak will hold more than his belican.”  “The Pelican” (1910) by Dixon Lanier Merritt

Princess Ramona Video Review

Natasha's ReviewA “Princess Ramona” fan posts her own audio review of the digital book!

“I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who likes humor, cute stories and magical things.”

“It’s just so adorable and I love how she’s so adventurous.”

“I like how it ends in friendship. In all the other fairytale stories, they fall in love and they slay the dragon, but I actually quite frankly like dragons… in the end, it’s friendship.”

This reviewer’s favorite verse in the book goes like this:

“The bored little princess began to explore

Each hummock and valley beyond the hut’s door

She climbed every tree and explored every path,

Returning each night for a scrub in the bath… which she didn’t enjoy.”

Princess Ramona in Tree


View the video by clicking the link below:



Princess Ramona in Tub

Go, Go Kakapo!

What sounds like a cell phone vibrating in “mute” mode, can call a girlfriend over from several kilometers away with no cell reception whatsoever, and is possibly our longest-lived egg-laying feathered friend? The Kakapo, of course! This flightless New Zealand bird is the heaviest parrot in the world and can live to be 120 years old. It used to have few natural predators, but when the humans moved in, along with their dogs and cats and rats, the Kakapo population went into a tail spin. Kakapo

When the population of this rare bird plummeted to about 60 birds remaining in the 1990’s, scientists flew into action. Rats and cats were not interested in helping the effort to save the Kakapo and instead continued to kill and eat the young chicks. The scientists decided that the Kakapos needed to move to a safer neighborhood and so several birds were moved to three different islands where the rats and cats were not allowed to settle, even if they managed to show valid passports.

Once the Kakapos were protected, coddled and given extra yummy food (like apples, sweet potatoes, nuts, and sunflower seeds), their numbers began to increase. Currently, there are about 140 Kakapos strutting around on their own islands.


See those little whiskers next to the beaks of the Kakapoes? (Or is the plural “Kakapoo?”) Those whiskers are not just for looking handsome on a Saturday night; they are very helpful to this nocturnal bird that runs around at night. Both the male and female birds use these whiskers to help them navigate their way as they walk with their heads down close to the ground. Speaking of Saturday night, do you know how a male Kakapo manages to get himself a date? With a boom box, of course.

kakapo_in_boom_bowlThe male inflates a sac below his throat and starts to “boom” as the sac fills with air. This attractive sound brings the females who follow carefully groomed paths to the male’s “boom bowl.” Yes, the male makes a smooth bowl in the dirt so he has a stage to perform his awesome mating dance when the girl bird finally arrives. The bowl helps make the booming sounds louder; he doesn’t even need a microphone for his act.


The Kakapo does other amazing things too. Although it cannot fly, it can climb up to the top of trees to have a look-about. He can fall with style, using his wings to glide or parachute down from the trees to the ground. Since Kakapoes exist because of human help, each bird has a name. They are all banded and many are tracked with radio signals. Every Kakapo is special. Maybe some day, there will be enough of them around for us to let them go about their lovely Kakapo lives without being constantly coddled by scientists. For now the 124 Kakapo that do exist need our help.


For more information see the Kakapo Recovery Site at:


Picture Book featuring the Kakapo:


kakapo montgomery book