All Dressed Up…

 

~Ring Tailed Pheasant~

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Male Ring-necked Pheasants establish breeding territories in early spring. A male maintains sovereignty over his acreage by crowing and calling; he approaches intruders with head and tail erect, and may tear up grass that he then tosses. Competitors sometimes resort to physical combat. After a series of escalating threat displays, fighting cocks flutter upward, breast to breast, and bite at each other’s wattles. They may take turns leaping at each other with bill, claws, and spurs deployed. Usually the challenger runs away before long, and these fights are rarely fatal. Females assemble in breeding groups focused on a single male and his territory. The cock courts the hen with a variety of displays—strutting or running; spreading his tail and the wing closest to her while erecting the red wattles around his eyes and the feather-tufts behind his ears. He also “tidbits”—poses with head low while calling her to a morsel of food. A female may flee at first, leading the male on a chase punctuated by courtship displays. Males guard their groups of females from the advances of other males. Like many birds, Ring-necked Pheasants take frequent dust baths, raking their bills and scratching at the ground, shaking their wings to sweep dust and sand into their feathers, lying on their sides and rubbing their heads. Dust-bathing probably removes oil, dirt, parasites, dead skin cells, old feathers, and the sheaths of new feathers.

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Linking up with:

Wild Bird Wednesday and The BIRD D’pot

Shooting Stars…

 Dodecatheon

 Dodecatheon species…

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Shootingstar (Dodecatheon pulchellum) is a species of flowering plant in the primrose family.

The Shooting star is a perennial herb with single, leafless flower stems, growing from very short erect root stocks with no bulblets to a height of 2-15 inches.

Each plant has between 1 and 25 flowers clustered at the stem top. The calyx is usually purple-flecked, and the five lobes are 3 to 5 millimeters (mm) long. The corolla  is 10 to 20 mm long and the 5 lobes sweep backwards. The lobes are purplish-lavender and rarely white. The short tube is yellowish and usually has a purplish wavy line at the base. The filaments are joined into a yellowish tube 1.5-3 mm long, which is smooth or only slightly wrinkled. The 5 anthers are joined to a projecting point, usually yellowish to reddish-purple, 4-7 mm long and the stigma is slightly larger than the style.

Flowering period is from April to August depending on the site type and elevation.

The Shootingstar is native to much of North America. See a distribution map at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service plants profile database. It can be found in saline swamps, mountain meadows and streams, plains, and alpine zones. In Montana, it is most common in western and central areas.

According to Montana Plant Life.org it is used as a medicine plant. “Pretty shooting star was used medicinally by the Okanagan-Colville and Blackfoot Indians. An infusion of the roots was used as a wash for sore eyes. A cooled infusion of leaves was used for eye drops. An infusion of leaves was gargled, especially by children, for cankers.”

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Linking up with:

Macro Monday

Shine the Divine