To an unsuspecting beginner, flushing a grouse or woodcock can be unnerving.
I know it seems like this winter will never end, but days are getting longer, and just a few days ago, I finally saw blue sky and felt the warmth of sunshine. With longer days and bright sunshine comes hope in the form of bird song. And no voices sound better on a cold February […]
Even states where ground hogs don’t occur have come up with ways to get in on the action.
Back in December, I described an invasion of snowy owls from the arctic to temperate latitudes. Hundreds of these impressive white birds have been reported from the east coast to Minnesota. I suspect that never have so many birders seen a rare life bird in such a short time span. Similar habitats Because snowy owls […]
With the polar vortex still fresh on our minds, it almost seems silly to discuss nesting birds. But the nesting season begins in January for bald eagles and great horned owls. An egg was laid in an eagle nest on the campus of Berry College in Georgia, Jan. 14. And in Pittsburgh a pair of […]
Every winter I get letters and emails from readers asking why they are seeing fewer birds at their feeders. For example, Sheryll Jameson, from Parkersburg, W.Va. writes, “I enjoy reading your column and wondered if you could answer a question for me. I have been feeding birds for several years and am disappointed by the […]
Ask any wildlife biologist to name an important professional influence, and most will say Aldo Leopold (1887-1948). His textbook, Game Management (1933), essentially created the profession of wildlife management. Aldo Leopold. Leopold, however, is better known to the general public for his book, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. It is nature […]
It’s time for another season of Project FeederWatch, Cornell University’s premier citizen science opportunity sponsored by the Lab of Ornithology.
Every December I get requests to reprint my take-off of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, first published in 1988. Read it aloud to the kids after opening presents. Merry Christmas! The Morning of Christmas (with apologies to Clement C. Moore) ‘Twas the morning of Christmas, And all ‘round the house, The feeders were empty, Not […]
Nothing gets birders more excited than widespread reports of unusual birds. They jump in their cars, drive hundreds of miles, and hope to spot a “life bird.” Sometimes they are successful; sometimes they are not. It’s all part of the thrill of birding. Reports of snowy owls Right now much of the northern U.S. is […]
Many predators seek deer — not just humans.
Every fall I hear about a big buck someone has been tracking and watching for weeks. But when the gun season arrives, that big buck vanishes, only to reappear a few weeks later. Are deer really that smart? Deer intelligence Keen senses of smell, vision, and hearing have a lot to do with deer “intelligence.” […]
Turkeys and deer must prepare for winter before it gets here.
Sometimes wildlife seems as curious about people as we are about them. I often spot deer watching me from the edge of the woods. When I see a fox, it’s usually watching me from a thicket of dense vegetation. Once I was fishing and, between catching fish and watching a belted kingfisher patrol up and […]
Call them juncos or snowbirds, their return means temperatures are dropping and snow will soon fly.
If you’ve ever suspected there was a big buck roaming your favorite hunting grounds, you probably wished you could monitor the area 24/7. But that’s virtually impossible unless you use a trail cam. Trail cams are motion-activated, weather-proof cameras that can be strapped to trees or posts to monitor wildlife activity. Many uses Hunters, birders […]
When morning low temperatures dip into the 30s, I know it’s time to get serious about filling my bird feeders. Here’s a guide matching desirable birds to specific foods and feeders. The single food that attracts the greatest variety of feeder birds is sunflower seed in tube or hopper feeders. Black-oil sunflower is appealing because […]
If your backyard plans include adding new plants for next year, get a head start this fall. Just be sure to get started before the ground freezes.
The year I turned 12 I got my first hunting license. It was my first chance to hunt ring-necked pheasants. My father brought birds home every fall, and I wanted to join the hunt. My dad taught me to shoot with a used, single shot, 12-gauge shotgun. It was a lot of gun for a […]
Fall is also migration and molt season, for birds.