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Creature Feature

Oh, the creatures we’ve seen

You find them sitting atop shelves at libraries, inside toy chests and in the hands of parents turning well-worn pages in a nighttime ritual of reading the rhymes, words and wisdom of Dr. Seuss and his unforgettable characters.     From 1928 until his death in 1990, Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote and illustrated 60-plus books for children and adults as Dr. Seuss.

After 9 years, Coast Guard mascot Rosie gets First Class promotion

At a Coast Guard station, where the crew is often separated from friends and family, the extra boost provided by a dog goes a long way. About half of all Coast Guard stations has a mascot dog.     “It’s about morale” says fireman Justin Singleton, who’s been at Coast Guard Station Annapolis for a year. “She keeps us in good spirits.”

This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count needs your help

The drakes are displaying, showing off their splendid colors, their best dance moves. Cardinal and Carolina wren pairs cavort; the chickadees are singing. Love is in the air.

Maryland Zoo seeking humans

See the Zoo like you’ve never seen it before — on the scene and behind the scenes.     The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is seeking 200 new volunteers to help make successes of such events as ­BunnyBonanZOO, zooBOOO! and Brew at the Zoo.     January 25 is your once-a-year opportunity to learn the aardvark to zebra of volunteering at the third oldest zoo in the United States, representing nearly 200 species in natural settings replicating their native habitats.

Robert Kyle gives a new meaning to frozen drinks

How do creatures of the wild quench their thirst when outdoor water freezes to ice?     Robert Kyle replenishes bowls with water in its liquid state for “cats, birds and whoever else is thirsty” at his Huntingtown home.     “I have several water bowls around our place,” Kyle writes. “When the water freezes overnight I add fresh water.”     As a side effect of his Franciscan charity, Kyle has invented a new art form: Cat Bowl Ice Art.

Coast Guard’s sea turtle rescue brings them Internet fame

It’s all in a day’s work.         The day was August 12, when a boater reported an entangled sea turtle 30 miles off New Jersey’s southern coast.     Using the boater’s GPS coordinates, the Cape May Coast Guardsmen and staff of Marine Mammal Rescue Center set out on a rescue mission. Finding a turtle in the Atlantic could have been as hard as finding a needle in a haystack. But the coordinates led straight to an ensnared leatherback.

Calvert Marine Museum’s new baby cephalopod

True names rise from a creature’s character. That’s the Native American way. Cats, too, have true names, but theirs are inscrutable to humans, according to poet T.S. Eliot in the poems that became Cats of musical fame.

Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center plays Santa to injured critters but needs your help

Dozens of raptors were among the thousands of animals rescued this year by the Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center in Lusby.     One stands out for her size and the relationship she formed with her rescuers.     Big Bird, as she was called, was rescued from a farm in southern Maryland. A nesting mother with three babies and a mate in a nearby tree, she had a broken left wing. What caused her injuries was never learned.

Its bite can kill a horse

Beware the brown recluse.         The spiky-legged brown recluse grows as long as three-eighths of an inch. A violin shape marks its back. Its bite is devastating. I know because I’ve seen it firsthand.     A big, warm-blood, show horse on my Southern Anne Arundel County farm was bitten on the leg by a brown recluse. After more than two months of treatment, she had to be put down.

How to get to know our ­regulars and seasonal visitors

At the tip of Thomas Point in Annapolis on a windy November morning, Linda Davis sees buffleheads, horned grebes and a loon diving in the Bay’s chop.     “I am just learning my birds,” says Davis, of Shady Side. “I had surgery last winter, so I put up feeders outside the window where I sat and saw all these birds I didn’t even know existed. Then I began photographing birds, and now it’s all I want to do.”