Tag Archive: Endangered Species

May 17 2015

Gray Wolf

The gray wolf maze

The gray wolf maze

The original pen and ink artwork is available for sale.

Gray wolf wordsearch.

Gray wolf wordsearch.

Find words backwards, forwards and diagonally.

Download a PDF of the Gray Wolf Maze.

Download a PDF of the Gray Wolf Word Search.


Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2015/05/17/gray-wolf/

Apr 03 2015

Black Footed Ferret Maze

The Black Footed Ferret

The Black Footed Ferret

Black Footed Ferret Fact Sheet

To accompany the black footed ferret maze, I’ve created a fill in the blank puzzle, word search and crossword puzzle.  You can see them here or download them at the bottom of the page for non-commercial use at home or school.


Here are the downloads – have fun with them!

Black Footed Ferret Maze

Black Footed Ferret Crossword

Black Footed Ferret Fill in the blank

Black Footed Ferret Word Search

Click here for the solutions to the puzzles.

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2015/04/03/black-footed-ferret-maze/

Feb 07 2015

Snuffbox Mussel Maze

Weave your way through the snuffbox mussel maze!

Weave your way through the snuffbox mussel maze!

Snufbox Mussel Maze

Original artwork is copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes.  Drawn with india ink on 9″ x 12″ Bristol white vellum surface paper.  Made in Michigan.  Built to last.

Copyright 2015 by Robert Hughes

Snuffbox Mussel Maze Solution

Snuffbox Mussel

Download a pdf of the snuffbox mussel wordsearch here!

Download a pdf of the snuffbox mussel maze here!

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2015/02/07/snuffbox-mussel-maze/

Apr 20 2014

Great Lakes Piping Plover Maze

Great Lakes Piping Plover Maze

Great Lakes Piping Plover Maze

Original Artwork and paper copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes.

The Endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover.

The Great Lakes Piping Plover is a migratory bird that made summer nests on the shores of the Great Lakes.  Records from the 1890s show about 680 breeding pairs on sandy beaches from New York to Wisconsin.  During the 20th century almost all of the Great Lakes Piping Plovers were killed and their territory greatly diminished.  In 1984 there were only 12 breeding pairs and they all lived on the shore of Lake Michigan.

There are two subspecies of Piping Plover.  The Great lakes Piping Plover is part of the subspecies that also nests in the Great Plains area (from Oklahoma to south central Canada).  The other distinct subspecies nests along the Atlantic Ocean (from North Carolina to Newfoundland).

In the late 19th century and early 20th century many bird species, including the Piping Plover, were hunted: their feathers used to adorn women’s hats.  As a result many birds were killed, and in 1918 the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was enacted as federal law.  This law protects over 800 migratory bird species, crosses state lines, and is still in effect today.  Both species of the Piping Plover are on this list.

It is not known what drove the Great Lakes Piping Plover to the edge of extinction in the 20th century.  Aside from killing them for feathers, we have other pursuits that are lethal to plovers.  One of these is property development.  The beachfront property these birds need for survival is often used for recreation, residential and commercial development.  Pedestrians and all terrain vehicles sometimes crush the eggs.  Garbage left on the beach attracts raccoons, foxes, cats and other animals that in turn prey on the Plover or its eggs.  Off leash dogs pose another threat.  Another culprit is the use of DDT (a pesticide used on fields until 1972 when it was banned).  DDT washes off the cropland and into the lakes and rivers where it poisons the small invertebrates the Piping Plover eats.  It may be that some pesticides used today pose a similar, if less pronounced, threat.  Industrial pollution is yet another problem.  There are likely other hazards (resulting from our society) in the plovers’ winter or summer home; or along its migratory path, which caused the Great Lakes Piping Plover to nearly go extinct.  The Piping Plovers that were common on the Atlantic Coast and inland on the Great Plains suffered a similar – if less drastic – fate.  Now the Atlantic population is about 1750 pairs; and the Great Plains has about 2200 pairs.  These plovers are currently listed as threatened in the United States, and endangered in Canada.

In 1986 the Great Lakes Piping Plover was listed as an endangered species.  All of the know breeding pairs, nineteen in total, nested on Michigan shorelines.  Starting in 1990 people determined to help protect the Plover in its native habitat from predators, developers and tourists.  Over the next two decades, the Plover population increased almost every year.  At last count, in 2012, there were nearly 60 nesting pairs; about 1/3 of those reside in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Little is known about the Piping Plovers’ winter habits.  Regardless of their summer homes they migrate to spend the winter on beaches from southern North Carolina to Florida where they congregate together.  In 2011 a previously unknown outpost of 1000 Piping Plovers was discovered wintering in the Bahamas.  In total there are about 8000 Piping Plovers alive today.

Characteristics of the Piping Plover.

The Piping Plover is named for its distinctive bell like call.  The adult female and male birds look very similar.  They are about 5” – 7” long, with a wingspan of about 14”.  Their bodies are sandy colored, with yellow-orange legs, and a beak that is orange with a black tip.  During the spring and summer these birds have distinctive black marking on their forehead and about the neck.  They camouflage well with their surroundings.

In general, the Piping Plover prefers sandy flat beaches with some gravel to nest on.  The male bird scratches a nest, called a scrape, in the sand just big enough for a plover to sit in.  Then, with an impressive diving flight display he attracts a female to the scrape.  This courting behavior occurs immediately upon migratory arrival in the early spring.

The males reach the nesting grounds in early April just a few days before the females arrive.  After mating the eggs incubate for about 28 days.  When the eggs hatch the chicks begin foraging within a few hours.  In another 30 days or so they learn how to fly.  The first nest of the season almost always has 4 eggs.  The short incubation time and early arrival allow this species as many as 4 nests during the spring and summer.  The male and female share the incubation duty, taking turns sitting on the eggs.  After the first brood, other nests that year will usually only have 2 or 3 eggs each.

Less than half of the fledgling will survive the migratory journey of about 2000 miles.  Adults generally fare better, and are known to live as long as 14 years in the wild.  The average lifespan of an adult is 5 years.

The Great Lakes Piping Plover is a very rare bird making a comeback from the brink of extinction.  It is a small bird that blends in with its surroundings.  Every year it flies close to 4000 miles along its migratory path.  It is susceptible to various hazards throughout the year.  As we grow in harmony with the natural environment, so too do the numbers of the Piping Plover.

Original artwork is copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes.  Drawn with india ink on 9″ x 12″ Bristol white vellum surface paper.  Made in Michigan.  Built to last.

This design is available as a greeting card.

Download a PDF of the Great Lakes Piping Plover Maze here!

Here is the solution to the Great Lakes Piping Plover Maze.

 Resources: link takes you to referenced article.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
All About Birds.
Defenders of Wildlife.
State of Connecticut.
National Park Service.
University of Michigan.
University of Michigan.
Wildlife Preservation Canada.
National Park Service.
State of New York.
State of Michigan.
State of New Hampshire.
Center for Biological Diversity: On Time, On Target.

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2014/04/20/great-lakes-piping-plover-maze/

Apr 13 2014

Ozark Big Eared Bat Maze

Ozark Big Eared Bat Maze

Ozark Big Eared Bat Maze

Ozark Big-Eared Bat Maze.


The Ozark Big-Eared Bat roosts in limestone caves in the Ozark Highlands and Boston Mountain ecoregions of NW Arkansas and adjacent NE Oklahoma.  The bats once lived in nearby SW Missouri, but human activity forced them to leave.

         These caves maintain a year round temperature of between 40° and 50° F.  In late spring through late summer, the males sleep on their own, while the females roost together in warmer (50 -59° F) caves.  In these maternity colonies, each mother gives birth to one offspring per year.  In three weeks a baby bat flies; and in three more it will be weaned.

         After the fall mating season, the male and female bats hibernate together from October or November through April or May.  They favor locations near the fronts of caves.  This makes them vulnerable to being awakened by human sightseers, cavers or vandals.  When a bat wakes up during hibernation, it uses up fat reserves: 10 – 30 days of the bat’s stored energy.  Too much winter activity will cause a bat to die of starvation.

         Another threat that may affect these bats is a fungal disease called the white-nose syndrome.  First identified in 2007 in a New York state cave, this disease has wiped out approximately 80 percent of all bat populations in eastern parts of the United States.  The disease is spreading both North and West from its origin and it is likely only a matter of time before it reaches bats living in the Ozarks.

         The Ozark Big-Eared Bat eats a variety of insects.  The bulk of its diet, perhaps 90 percent, comes from eating moths.  It may be that the bat’s oversized ears – they would be over 2 feet tall if scaled up to a six foot human – play a part in the bat’s ability to hunt moths.  However, since other bat species with smaller ears can eat a similar diet, what role the big ears (1.2 inches – 1.5 inches) play is not known for sure.  The Ozark Big-Eared Bat is about 3.5 – 4.5 inches long, and has a wingspan of about one foot.

         There are believed to be fewer than 1800 of these bats left in the wild.  Getting an accurate count is challenging.  In 2006 simultaneous night-vision video and high frequency audio recording started to supplement traditional counting methods.  It is easier to count the bats as the tape is played back in slow motion (or even frame by frame) than it is to count bats flying out of a cave in person.  Moreover, since many bat species may live in the same cave, the high frequency audio determines if a bat whose ears are obscured is an Ozark Big-Eared Bat or not.  This is because each species of bat has its own unique call.

         Efforts to conserve this species, first listed as endangered on November 30, 1979, are ongoing.  Fences at the cave entrances keep people (and domesticated animals) out, but let bats in.  An 885-acre reserve, the Oklahoma Bat Caves National Wildlife Refuge, shelters the Ozark Big-Eared Bat, and other endangered bat species native to the area.

         The Ozark Big-Eared Bat, unique to caves in Oklahoma and Arkansas has fewer than 1800 individuals left in its population.  Named for its big ears, this bat was placed on the endangered species list in 1979.  Now the biggest impending threat may be the White Nose Syndrome.

Original artwork is copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes.  Drawn with india ink on 9″ x 12″ Bristol white vellum surface paper.  Made in Michigan.  Built to last.

This design is available as a greeting card.

Download a PDF of the Ozark Big Eared Bat Maze here!

Here is the solution to the Ozark Big Eared Bat Maze.

Resources (link takes you to referenced article).


United States Fish and Wildlife Services.

National Geographic. 

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Biological Diversity.


Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. 

Southwest Natural Resources Inventory and Monitoring.

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2014/04/13/ozark-big-eared-bat-maze/

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