A week ago, Vonda Poole of New Wilmington, Pa. emailed me and worried about “a female hummingbird that has not gone south for the winter. It’s now December 9th,” she wrote, “and it’s still here. Was I wrong to leave a feeder up? What will happen when freezing weather hits?” I explained that keeping the […]
The diversity of backyard birds fuels their appeal. Cardinals and blue jays are spectacularly beautiful. Chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches sparkle with personality. Woodpeckers entertain. But some, the nondescript native sparrows we call “LBBs” (little brown birds), avoid the spotlight by simply feeding on the ground. Ground feeders are nice to have around because they help […]
Cold winter weather means it’s time for two important citizen science projects — the annual Christmas Bird Count and Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch. This year the 113th CBC runs from Dec. 14 through Jan. 5. Volunteers will devote one entire day to counting all the wild birds they can find. Local leaders determine […]
Books always make great holiday gifts, especially for those who have everything. Here are a few recent titles that I recommend.
As days get shorter, and nights grow longer, the cast of characters on my bird feeders changes. A mixed flock of pine siskins, purple finches, juncos and a few red-breasted nuthatches has joined the usual crowd of chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, song sparrows, and goldfinches. But it is a tiny winter bird that captures my […]
As I write this, Hurricane Sandy has claimed more than 70 American lives and done an estimated $50 billion in damage, and those numbers are likely to increase. Another unspoken toll thus far is that taken on wildlife. How can wildlife possibly survive a super storm? That’s certainly been the topic of many emails I […]
Halloween can be a terrifying holiday for small children. Boogie men and scary creatures strike terror in their hearts. I’m hoping we can dial back the fear factor associated with real creatures that often show up in Halloween decorations. Spiders, snakes, and bats are three groups that strike fear in the hearts of many, even […]
Anyone who lives in deer country knows fall is the most dangerous time of year. It’s when deer-vehicle collisions peak. In many areas, it’s not if you hit a deer, it’s when you hit one. Over the last 20 years I’ve hit six deer. One totaled my car, and another did $3,000 in damage. Fortunately […]
“When can I expect birds show up at my new feeder?” That’s the most common question I get from readers who begin feeding birds for the first time. My answer is that it depends on several factors, including habitat and time of year, but usually, birds discover and use new feeders in just a few […]
The science behind fall’s beauty: Why do leaves turn colors? Why do they fall from trees, anyway?