How to - Wildlife

Nature study

Cybèle Young
Photography by
Cybèle Young

A whimsical look at some of the other life that may be growing in our own backyards


nature-study-aphid.jpgAphid (Family: Aphididae)
Size: From 1 to 2 mm
Where: Widespread
Why: The stickiness of the aphids’ honeydew is also used as a defence 
from predators. Most aphids are wingless females, frequently producing clones, until their host plant becomes overcrowded. Then some with wings will be hatched to colonize other plants—and only at the end of summer will males be hatched to produce eggs for over winter.


Skunk (Family: Mephiditae)
Size: From 40 to 94 cm
Where: Widespread and adaptable 
to many habitats
Why: The female skunk prefers the company of other females. After finding 
a solitary male for mating, she’ll return to the females for both sexual and platonic relationships and child rearing. They produce their famous acrid defence—
a scent so intense it can be detected through metal and glass—only after several warning signs.



Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)
Size: From 46 to 68 cm
Where: Widespread in treed areas
Why: The great horned owl has a poor sense of smell, so it is immune to the skunk’s scent and is its arch-enemy. With 500 pounds of crushing power in its talons (compared to a human male’s 50 pounds), it is one of the largest and most widespread owls. It is elusive, with silent wings, but its familiar call is often heard. Hoo-hoo-hoo hoo-hoo

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