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Making environmentally friendly seafood choices

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My wife and I dine out more often during the summer, especially when we’re on vacation. And for some reason, we favor the seafood part of the menu during warmer weather. And with that choice comes the uncertainty of knowing what meal to select. Seafood types Many types of seafood are overfished, and our meal […]

Insects could be the answer to a nature deficit

Thursday, May 20, 2010

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” Those words, by a fourth-grader in San Diego, are the essence of Richard Louv’s 2005 bestseller, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder — kids today spend too much time indoors and too little time outdoors. From […]

The Wilds animal park is a dream come true

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back in the summer of 1993 I eagerly awaited the release of Jurassic Park and its promise of computer-generated, live action footage of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are the creatures that hooked me on nature. I collected and played with the hard plastic models and would have done anything to see live dinosaurs. I’ll never forget an […]

Identifying 11 more warblers made easy

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The easy male warblers that I reviewed last week are recognizable by eye and ear to any birder. But going beyond that first level of warbler identification is like taking a graduate course in birding. So here, during birders’ favorite month, are some tips to help you move on to the next level. Chestnut-sided warblers. […]

Ramps – the king of stink can be a tastebud treat

Thursday, April 22, 2010

As I worked my way down the steepest portion of the valley, I could see patches of green in the distance. Some were stands of Virginia bluebells just unfurling their leaves, but most were carpets of ramps. Experience Experience has taught me that mid-April is ramp season. When the redbuds and dogwoods bloom and the […]

Early visitors this year: Hummingbirds are back

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bird migration epitomizes spring. But unless you spend a lot of time outdoors with binoculars, or you really know bird songs, the players often pass through unidentified. Hummingbirds Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the exception. Hang a nectar feeder, and you’ll know when they arrive. And thanks to a Web site that maps hummers as they return, […]

Good news and bad news for monarch butterflies

Thursday, April 8, 2010

If you’re a fan of monarch butterflies, I’ve got good news and bad news. First the good news. Last year the folks at Project Monarch Watch sent three monarch caterpillars into space via the shuttle Atlantis. On November 16, 2009, they were delivered to the International Space Station where they lived out their lives. These […]

Birding help: Walks, mentors, Cornell Web site, “Birding by Ear” discs may help beginners

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Every year, just as spring migration begins, I get letters from readers who have decided to learn to identify birds by ear. “Where do I begin?” they ask. Start with what you know. Though you may not know the names of the most common singers, you undoubtedly have heard at least ten species many times. […]

Bluebirds make a comeback with some human help

Thursday, March 25, 2010

As winter relaxed its grip earlier this month, six consecutive days of bright sunshine and blue skies left no doubt that spring was on its way. Red maple buds burst open, and a pair of eastern bluebirds began visiting a nest box on the edge of the yard. They were just beginning to investigate and […]

Duck identification requires more than just effort

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Though most migratory song birds won’t arrive until April or May, March is a great month to tackle waterfowl identification. Binoculars and a field guide are the essential tools. To find waterfowl, visit wetlands — lakes, farm ponds, beaver ponds, flooded meadows, and rivers, especially near dams. These are the habitats ducks frequent as they […]

Feeding deer corn is not the best thing to do

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Last week’s column on the perils of feeding deer corn in winter generated more mail than anything I’ve written in years. Many readers were mortified that their good intentions may have done more harm than good. Here are a few excerpts from e-mails from concerned readers. “I only put out a few cups of corn […]

Feeding corn to deer could be death sentence

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just days after 20 inches of snow blanketed the ridge, a second storm arrived. We could have another 8 inches by morning. Such conditions bring out the softie in many of us. We make sure the bird feeders are filled even before we shovel out the driveway. Feeding the deer? But what about feeding the […]

Squirrels know persistence pays off in the end

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In January, I did most of my wildlife watching through my office windows. Though the bird feeders were always busy, I also noticed a frenzy of activity among the gray and fox squirrels that inhabit the nearby woods. Chase begins On all but the coldest and snowiest days, I could count on seeing two squirrels […]

The great backyard bird count continues

Thursday, February 4, 2010

On Feb. 12-15, birders all across the country will participate in the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. This popular citizen science project is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the world of wild […]

Learn to spot who’s who at bird feeders this winter

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whether you need help identifying birds for Project FeederWatch, or you’re preparing for next month’s Great Backyard Bird Count, or you’d just like to recognize the birds at your feeders, here are some tips to help identify common winter birds. If you have a feeder in the backyard, you’re likely to see most of these […]

Learn to spot who’s who at bird feeders this winter

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whether you need help identifying birds for Project FeederWatch, or you’re preparing for next month’s Great Backyard Bird Count, or you’d just like to recognize the birds at your feeders, here are some tips to help identify common winter birds. If you have a feeder in the backyard, you’re likely to see most of these […]

Peril of birding: Pointing binoculars in wrong direction

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Of all outdoor activities, birdwatching might seem to be the most innocuous. How can one possibly get into trouble watching birds? Well, earlier this month, a Boston birder was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer. The 46-year-old man was birding in a marsh adjacent to some houses. A […]

Our first good deed of 2010 on New Year’s Day

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On the afternoon of the first day of January, my wife and I scrambled to get a few outdoor chores finished before the snow arrived. The temperature had already dropped into the low 20s, so we were anxious to get things done. As I carried garbage to the compost pile, I noticed that our small […]

Easy ways to resolve to make a difference in 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Now that the holiday season is history and life is getting back to normal, resolve to make a difference this year. Resolutions Here’s a list of resolutions to consider. Each is relatively easy, and most will save a few dollars over the course of the year. – Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees […]

If you see a hummingbird, tell officials

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas for Ohio and Pennsylvania Birders Pennsylvania and Ohio birders must have been particularly good this year. In mid-December they got an early Christmas gift. On almost the same day, an Allen’s hummingbird showed up in Holmes County, Ohio and Lancaster County, Pa. It was a first for both states. Over the last 12 years […]

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