Sarah and I had a great time with family and friends in Indiana. It's always uplifting to spend time with such great people that care more about us than we deserve. As a major bonus for me, my friend Ben and I joined some folks who capture and band Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) as they migrate south into Indiana during the winter. I had never seen this owl species before, so it was a fantastic treat for me when we caught three owls! I got to hold and release two of them after they had been banded, aged, and sexed. They were soft and cute, and I kissed one on the head (lucky owl).
My first Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus). I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I got the whole rattle threat display and everything. You can hear it on the video. It was great! It was as fat around as the thickest part of my forearm (not exactly popeye, but still...). Below is the diamondback's little cousin, the Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri). These heavily persecuted species elicit fear in many people, which I think leads to the hatred. They certainly deserve a fearful type of respect, but they don't really want to bite people much more than people want to get bitten. The whole point of the rattle is to give us the option of avoiding conflict.