One of my favorite insects to find in the city, and they're incredibly easy to see if you know what to look for, are the hover flies. The family Syrphidae contains about 6,000 species (890 in North America). They're known as Syrphid flies but more commonly they're called hover flies or flower flies, and can be found around the world in a variety of habitats. You've possibly seen them but mistaken them for a bee, as many of them resemble them so convincingly, their images are often wrongly used on articles about bees. Look a little closer and you'll see these are not bees;...
While many species may come to mind with the term 'urban wildlife', otters are not likely among the first to come to mind. Despite this, they can be seen in urban areas. In fact in three of the last cities I've called home, I've seen River Otters in two of them. River Otters can be found throughout most of North America in fresh and even salt water. While River Otters may be common throughout the region, they are less common in urban areas. When I saw a River Otter in Eugene, Oregon along the Millrace which runs through town, nobody believed me...
Common Name: American Wigeon Scientific Name: Anas americana Family: Anatidae The American Wigeon is a dabbling duck, which are ducks that tip their front ends into the water to forage while their back ends stick up in the air. They maintain a large geographic range, breeding as far north as the Bering Sea and wintering from Canada through Central America. They can be found in a wide range east to west as well and cover most of North and Central America at some point during the year. Their preferred breeding habitat are grasslands where they nest in proximity to water with cover in the...
Common Name: Eight-spotted Skimmer Scientific Name: Libellula forensis Family: Libellulidae The Eight-spotted Skimmer is a common urban dragonfly that can be found in many parks, wetlands and other landscapes with water. Their range includes the Pacific Northwest, northern California and east to the Rockies. The Skimmer family is the largest odonate family and also among the dragonflies most likely to be seen. They are further categorized among the Skimmer family as King Skimmers, a group which includes some of the most familiar species due to their large size and often conspicuous wing markings. They are considered perchers instead of fliers because they hawk prey much in...
Common Name: Pacific Chorus Tree Frog Scientific Name: Pseudacris regilla Family: Hylidae or Pseudacris (under debate) The most widespread and abundant frog in the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific Tree Frog is also known as the Chorus Frog because they are one of the few frogs in the region which are often heard. Occurring from British Columbia south to Baja California, they also range to the east to Montana. They breed in a large variety of freshwater habitats including ponds, wetlands, lakes, slow streams as well as man-made structures such as retention ponds, ditches and reservoirs, most commonly in fishless bodies of water. Their ability to lay eggs...
Common Name: Jackdaw Scientific Name: Corvus monedula Family: Corvidae If you spend time in any European city, chances are very high you'll come across the Jackdaw. Found throughout most of Europe with the exception of the far north, it's a common bird in cities, mountains, sea cliffs, fields and other habitats. For the most part they're residents and will breed in cities, often in or on human structures. Couples pair in their first year and mate for life and they can usually be found together even in large flocks, often times sitting very close together. The Jackdaw is a social bird forming flocks...