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

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Snakes, bats and spiders could use image makeover

Thursday, November 1, 2012

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 […]

It’s deer season and it’s a jungle out there

Thursday, October 25, 2012

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 […]

Birds quickly find new feeders; there is proof

Thursday, October 18, 2012

“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 […]

Why do leaves change colors before they fall?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The science behind fall’s beauty: Why do leaves turn colors? Why do they fall from trees, anyway?

When choosing seed, match bird food to feeders

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The bird-feeding season is upon us, and invariably questions about which foods and feeders are best fill my mailbox. Here’s a pre-emptive effort to answer some of those questions. Basics If you are new to feeding birds or you just want to keep it simple, offer black-oil sunflower seed in a high-quality tube feeder made […]

Some clean four-letter words for fall

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The phrase “four-letter word” has a bad reputation, for obvious reasons. But there are good four-letter words, too. Here are a few four-letter verbs for outdoor lovers to keep in mind as fall begins. Hunt — Shorter, cooler days mean a variety of hunting seasons are about to open. Waterfowl, small game, and white-tailed deer […]

A view from above shows the true landscape

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Last week I flew from Pittsburgh to North Carolina via New York City. I took the scenic route and got to see lots of Pennsylvania and southern Appalachia from the air. It’s a vantage point that reveals much about man’s impact upon the land, especially large tracts of forest. From 30,000 feet towns, farms, schools, […]

Attention birders: Fall migration is beginning

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The fall bird migration actually begins in July. Along East Coast beaches, shorebirds that nested in the Arctic begin showing up along coastlines in mid-July. August arctic snowstorms happen, so arctic migrants fledge their young as quickly as possible to get an early start south. Closer to home, male ruby-throated hummingbirds begin heading south in […]

Outdoor wildlife recreation is worth big bucks

Thursday, September 6, 2012

According to the results of the recently released 2011 National survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, more people than ever (16 and older) participated in wildlife recreation. Hunter numbers (13.7 million) grew 9 percent from 2006 to 2011. The number of anglers (33.1 million) increased 11 percent during the same time period. And the number […]

Gray tree frogs can be noisy masters of disguise

Thursday, August 30, 2012

July was too hot and dry for man or beast. One of the consequences is that evenings were quiet. I don’t think I heard a frog or toad the entire month. The gray tree frog Then the rains came, and the temperature dipped. Toads began to trill each evening, and the nightly chorus of crickets […]

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