Download Birds of the Great Basin: a natural history by Fred A. Ryser PDF

By Fred A. Ryser

Birds have consistently been of prepared curiosity to guy, in view that their attractiveness, track and interesting behaviour are conspicuously displayed and will be seen and heard by means of even the main informal observer. This booklet, the results of over thirty years of analysis, is the main complete ever released at the different chicken lifetime of the good Basin.

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Summery weather can occur in the winter, and wintry weather is common in the late spring. The transition from drought to flash flood requires but a moment's time. The sleet and snowstorms which occur in May, and even early June, wreak havoc upon nesting birds. During the summer, the minimum temperature at night is often 40 to 50° F lower than the daytime maximum-and untended eggs or nestlings may fry by day and freeze by night. Because of the lack of overall height, the paucity of foliage density, and the wide spacing of plants in the valley and foothill vegetation, adequate cover is seldom available.

Their key to survival in the Great Basin lies in successfully remaining in heat balance and water balance. The story of how this is done will be told in the next two chapters. Page 15 2 The Fire of Life Homeothermism Birds and Mammals remain at almost constant warm temperatures in the ever changing thermal environments on earth. As air, soil, rock, and other organisms heat and cool by the moment, day, and season in these ever shifting thermal environments, the fire of life burns with relative constancy only within feathers and fur.

Their east-west widths vary from a few miles on up to fifteen miles or so. Numerous peaks stand seven thousand to eight thousand feet above sea level. A considerable number of peaks are ten thousand feet in altitude, and several are in excess of thirteen thousand feet. Unlike the desert, where a maze of roads and tracks covers the valleys, a very limited road network services the mountain ranges in the Basin. Seldom does a mountain road run all the way across a range; usually the road gets only partway up a canyon or on a ridge before ending.

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