Arctic Snowy Owls Are Descending on Detroit—Here’s Why

ca2hill/iStock via Getty Images
ca2hill/iStock via Getty Images

Detroit residents are hosting an influx of majestic snowy owls that are swooping all over the city—and, as much as we’d love to believe it, they’re not there to deliver mail to Harry Potter’s American counterparts.

Due to an especially productive breeding season last year, the Arctic is now home to an unusually high number of snowy owls. The younger ones, therefore, have flown south to spend the winter in a region where less competition—and less snow—makes it easier to find food. Come spring, they’ll head back up north to breed.

Detroit Audubon program coordinator Bailey Lininger told the Detroit Metro Times that this irregular migration event, called an irruption, isn’t a first for Detroit: The snowy owls also swept down from the Arctic during the winter of 2013 to 2014.

Because the birds are diurnal rather than nocturnal, they’re not hard to spot hunting around town or roosting atop office buildings—one woman even found one hanging out on the roof of her car. If you’re accustomed to beautiful birds spooking easily and staying as far from humans as possible, the snowy owls’ behavior might seem strangely brazen; but snowy owls don’t have natural predators, and they’re unaccustomed humans, so they really have no reason to fear us. Lininger hopes we can keep it that way.

“We want to be welcoming hosts for the snowy owls when they’re in our city,” she told the Detroit Metro Times. “They’re not used to seeing or being around humans, so don’t harass them or freak them out.” If you do, you could actually face charges—the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal to hunt, capture, or even damage the nests of snowy owls.

Bird watching, on the other hand, is a lovely, legal way to appreciate the magnificence of the winged winter tourists—just be sure to follow ethical birding guidelines and avoid harassing or disturbing the owls. If you live in Detroit, your best bet is to look for them at airports or open fields where they’re likely to hunt small, scurrying creatures.

[h/t The Detroit Metro Times]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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A Prehistoric Great White Shark Nursery Has Been Discovered in Chile

Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
solarseven/iStock via Getty Images

Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) may be one of the most formidable and frightening apex predators on the planet today, but life for them isn’t as easy as horror movies would suggest. Due to a slow growth rate and the fact that they produce few offspring, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

There is a way these sharks ensure survival, and that is by creating nurseries—a designated place where great white shark babies (called pups) are protected from other predators. Now, researchers at the University of Vienna and colleagues have discovered these nurseries occurred in prehistoric times.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jamie A. Villafaña from the university’s Institute of Palaeontology describes a fossilized nursery found in Coquimbo, Chile. Researchers were examining a collection of fossilized great white shark teeth between 5 and 2 million years old along the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru when they noticed a disproportionate number of young shark teeth in Coquimbo. There was also a total lack of sexually mature animals' teeth, which suggests the site was used primarily by pups and juveniles as a nursery.

Though modern great whites are known to guard their young in designated areas, the researchers say this is the first example of a paleo-nursery. Because the climate was much warmer when the paleo-nursery was in use, the researchers think these protective environments can deepen our understanding of how great white sharks can survive global warming trends.