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  • Hey, birders: It’s time for Project Feeder Watch

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Scott Shalaway Results

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 […]

Participate in a Christmas Bird Count this year

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It began Dec. 14 and runs through Jan. 5. Birders all across the Americas will gather in small groups to census bird populations in the annual Christmas Bird Count. Volunteers from hundreds of locations will devote one entire day to counting all the wild birds they can find. Local leaders determine the exact date that […]

You can become a Project FeederWatch volunteer

Thursday, December 17, 2009

If you’ve never put out food for wild birds, this column is for you. Perhaps you are motivated personally — you’d like to see if you can attract beautiful winter birds to your backyard. Or perhaps you envy the birds you see in your neighbor’s yard. Or maybe a child has come home from school […]

Books for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If you’ve got a few outdoor enthusiasts on you holiday gift list, a good book is always appreciated. Recommended Here are some recent titles that I recommend. – Shadow of the Alleghenies: the Wilderness Adventure of a Frontiersman and his Wolf Pup by Edwin D. Michael (2009, $22 ppd., Quarrier Press; order from Ed Michael, […]

The rut from two very different points of view

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The breeding season, commonly called the rut, takes a differential toll on female and male white-tailed deer. Does are fertile only 24 hours every 28 days. If does are not impregnated during that time, they come into estrus again in about 28 days. Bucks, on the other hand, are on call 24/7 from October through […]

A new favorite bird to monitor: Saw-whet Owls

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I have a new favorite bird — the northern saw-whet owl. Until last week, I’d never seen one in the wild. But on Wednesday, Joey Herron invited me to his banding station at Valley Falls State Park, just east of Fairmont, W.Va. “That storm on the East Coast,” he told me, “is going to push […]

Critical responses to mandatory national service

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last week I suggested that mandatory national service in one of many different fields would be a good way to bridge the gap between high school and the real world. Furthermore, I suggested that FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) be resurrected as a form of national service. My perspective was to provide a work force […]

Let me know why compulsory national service is a bad idea

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writer and historian Wallace Stegner called our national parks “the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than at our worst.” That was the message of the recent Ken Burns series that aired on PBS (www.pbs.org/nationalparks), and I couldn’t agree more. Watching this 12-hour documentary brought […]

Deermice link plants to predators

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When I checked my nest boxes this week, about half were still occupied — by mice. When I gently probed the mass of dried leaves with a stick, it was only a moment before I had a mouse running down my leg. Deermice and white-footed mice commonly use nest boxes intended for cavity-nesting birds, and […]

Keep your eyes open for several fall visitors

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A day after the first hard frost of the season, a flock of nomadic cedar waxwings appeared in the backyard. I counted 42, but probably missed a few. They were filling their bellies with fruits from a bittersweet thicket. More handsome than beautiful, waxwings always seem immaculately groomed. Only the distinctive crest disrupts the body’s […]

Folklore is wrong: Woolly bears can’t tell future

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The parade has begun. Yesterday I counted six as I walked from the house to the garage. This morning I spotted another handful crossing the road as I walked to the mail box. Woolly bears are on the move. Seasons changing Woolly bears are just one of many reliable signs of seasonal change that begin […]

The fall of the bison population in early America

Thursday, October 8, 2009

When Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, the approximately 1 million Native Americans who occupied North America probably never realized they were lost, much less that they need to be discovered. By 1900, fewer than 250,000 Native Americans remained. There are many reasons for the collapse of the Indian population and culture, but it […]

Least among us: Weasel common, but seldom seen

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Though most active between dusk and dawn, weasels hunt any time they’re hungry. Their small size and secretive nature, however, make them difficult to observe.

The unseen migration of the mature American eels

Thursday, September 17, 2009

“Fall migration” conjures up images of honking, south-bound geese and monarch butterflies on their way to Mexico. Each autumn we marvel at the long distance migrations made by many other birds and animals. Some dragonflies make long distance movements, and salmon make well known spawning runs from the ocean to freshwater spawning grounds. But there […]

The miracle of monarch migration

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Changing day length bird migration triggers bird migration because photoperiod is the only absolutely reliable environmental cue that signals birds that keeps seasonal time. Ruby-throated hummingbirds have already begun to leave, and chimney swifts and nighthawks are gathering in evening skies as they prepare to head south. Monarch butterflies Even more remarkable than bird migration, […]

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