California condor: The California Condor is a large, black vulture with patches of white on the underside of the wings and a bald head with skin color ranging from yellowish to a bright red. The color of its skin changes depending on the bird’s mood! The condor is a scavenger and eats large amounts of carrion (the dead and rotting body of an animal). The California Condor is one of the world’s rarest bird species. As of August 2010, there are 384 condors known to be living, including 188 in the wild. It has the largest wingspan of any bird found in North America and is one of the heaviest. It is also one of the world’s longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to fifty years.
Dimorphism: The existence among animals of the same species of two distinct forms that differ in one or more characteristics, such as coloration, size, or shape.
Djinn: (or genie) A supernatural being capable of granting wishes to whoever finds it.
Endangered species: A species present in such small numbers that it is at risk of extinction.
Gravitas: (grav-i-tahs) The governing body of Magic Users. Members of Gravitas are generally really, really, old.
Grizzly bear: Grizzly bears are North America’s second largest land carnivore, after the polar bear. Grizzly bears are omnivorous (they eat both vegetation and animals). Historically, there were around 50,000 grizzly bears in North America. Today, there are 1,000 to 1,200 grizzly bears remaining in five separate populations in the lower forty-eight states. The grizzly bear also appears on the flag of California, though they are extinct in the state, the last one having been shot in 1922.
Kaua`i `akialoa: One of over forty birds to have gone extinct in Hawaii. It was a small olive-yellow bird with a long, down-curved bill. The last one was seen in 1967.
Leprechaun: a small sprite or fairy from Ireland.
Mage: one who practices magic.
Mountain lion: The mountain lion, also called the puma, the cougar, the panther, and the catamount, feeds mostly on deer. Two of its other favorite food items are porcupines and grass. Today mountain lions live mainly in western North America. Some, however, live in the Florida Everglades, where they are called Florida panthers. Due to excessive hunting following the European colonization of the Americas and the continuing human development of mountain lion habitat, populations have dropped in most parts of its historical range. Today, Florida panthers are critically endangered.
Necromancer: A person who gets magical power by communicating with the spirits of the dead.
Pallid bat: Roosts in small colonies of about 12 to 100 bats. While in flight, it uses its large ears to pick up faint sounds of its prey. It can even hear the footsteps of insects on the ground! Unlike most animals, it’s immune to scorpion venom. That’s why scorpions are on the bats’ menu. Pallid bats form nursery colonies, bear one or two pups each year, usually in June. Because of widespread habitat loss, pallid bats are considered vulnerable to extinction.
Prairie chicken: In the few remaining places that they still survive, greater prairie-chickens gather together yearly at display grounds (called “leks”). There they perform striking mating dances: the males strut about and stamp their feet, with feather “horns” erect and yellow-orange sacs of skin inflated on the sides of the neck. All the while they are uttering a deep cooing call that may be heard a mile away. Much of their original habitat has been replaced with intensive agriculture. Prairie chickens now survive in scattered areas of southern Canada and the Midwestern United States, where, in the latter, land is being acquired for managed habitats to save the birds from extinction.
Pyro-Glacies: is the term that the Magic Using Community uses for global warming or climate change. Pyro is “fire” in Greek. Glacies means “ice” in Latin.
San Joaquin kit fox: This tiny, cute, and secretive fox is one of the most endangered animals in California. Most of their original habitat has been replaced by housing developments and agriculture. The kit fox is the size of a house cat, with big ears, a long bushy tail and furry toes that help to keep it cool in its hot and dry Central Valley California environment. They are difficult to spot with their buff, tan or yellowishgrey fur. They eat rodents and other small animals, including black-tailed hares, desert cottontails, mice, kangaroo rats, squirrels, birds and lizards. Kit foxes do not need to drink water since their prey provides enough liquid for them to survive.
Rite of passage: A ritual or ceremony signifying a major change (a transition) in a person’s life.
Scry, Scryer: is to foretell the future with a crystal ball.
Threatened species: a species of animal or plant that is rare and may become an endangered species in the near future.
Tiger salamander: A large, big-headed salamander with tiger-like markings. Tiger salamanders are often spotted at night after heavy rains, especially during breeding season. They are voracious eaters of earthworms, large insects, small mice, and amphibians. Due to habitat loss, the tiger salamander is threatened with extinction in much of its range.
Totem: is from a North American Indian word that means “animal image.”
Totem Mage: A Magic User born to protect a specifi c threatened or endangered species. A totem mage’s plant or animal is called a totem plant or totem animal.
Turkey vulture: The turkey vulture is a large soaring bird that feeds on carrion (the dead and rotting body of an animal). It’s recognized by the featherless red head, white bill, large brown-black body, and yellow feet. They can be easily spotted along roadways displaying their long wingspan and smooth soaring flight. While soaring it holds its wings slightly up in a V-shape. When attacked the bird defends itself by throwing up on the aggressor.
Venus flytrap: An insectivorous plant of the coastal plain of the Carolinas, having sensitive, hinged, marginally bristled, two-lobed leaf blades that close and entrap insects.
Wolverine: A stocky fierce-looking member of the weasel family. It is very powerful for its size, and it is ferocious enough to drive away even a bear or mountain lion. It eats anything it can find, including moose or elk slowed down in heavy snow, beavers, birds, squirrels, porcupines, roots, and berries.
Zombie: a reanimated corpse. A totem mage whose totem animal went extinct.