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Keep your cat inside to protect it and the birds

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Since 1989 I have written several times about domestic cats and the havoc they wreak on native wildlife populations. On July 11 cats made the national “fake” news on John Stewart’s The Daily Show.

House wrens can be nasty neighbors

Thursday, July 14, 2011

House wrens are extremely territorial and aggressive. While most birds limit their aggression to members of their own species, house wrens are interspecifically antisocial.

Summer is finally here: wildflowers are in bloom

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Everyone knows the ox-eye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum). The flower’s bright yellow central disk is surrounded by white petals. It grows almost anywhere brightening hayfields, rural road sides, and even my gravel driveway. It’s almost as ubiquitous as dandelion. Definition of summer To me, ox-eye daisies are the wildflower that defines the beginning of summer. There […]

Belted Kingfishers, easy to identify, hard to forget

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I’m not an avid angler. It’s probably because I’m so easily distracted. Dragonflies and damselflies patrol their territories along cattail-lined shorelines. Bullfrogs bellow from the shoreline, and there’s often at least one snapping turtle coming up for air or a water snake swimming toward me. Attention getter More often, however, it’s the machine gun-like rattle […]

Thankfully, whip-poor-will’s song is hard to forget

Thursday, June 16, 2011

“Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will!” The song wakes me at first light. It’s why I keep the bedroom windows open. The song of the whip-poor-will is my favorite alarm. I suppose I value it because I hear it so rarely. Over the last 25 years, I’ve heard it just a handful of times, and just for a […]

Looking for summer reading; look no further

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A good book can make or break a summer vacation. Whether under a beach umbrella or in a comfortable easy chair, any curious naturalist will enjoy these recent titles. Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler (2011, William Morrow, $25.99) is the latest book by Jessica Speart. For more than decade, […]

Warblers galore at Magee Marsh in Oak Harbor

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Like most birders, I keep a life list. It is simply a list of the first time and place I saw any particular species. Compared to some, I’m a casual lister; my U.S. list is 500-plus, but I don’t know the exact number. It’s not that important. But I still get excited when I add […]

Jamaica: Surprising and rewarding destination for birdwatchers

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Biologists love to see species they have never seen before. The best places to see endemic species (those that occur only in isolated geographic areas) are islands. Remote islands far from mainland areas are often most famous for their endemic species. For example, 13 species of Darwin’s finches, 15 other birds and giant tortoises are […]

Golfing is ‘Master’ful time to bird watch

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I haven’t played a round of golf since college, but each spring I try to catch a few hours of the televised weekend portions of the Master’s golf tournament. The competition can be dramatic, but I tune in to hear bird song. The Master’s takes place at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, so spring […]

Use your iPad or iPod to learn more about birding

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Want to know what bird’s singing beside you in the park? Yep, there’s an app for that.

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