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Beaver tales: Leaving an ecological impact

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Though large and common, beavers are seldom seen unless you know where to look. The best time to see beavers is at dusk on a summer evening. And the best place is on quiet water from a kayak or canoe. Float quietly! Wildlife usually ignores me when I glide silently and low on the water. […]

Grapevines are aggressive, but are not deadly

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lesson learned: Grapevines are important to the ecosystem.

Caterpillars, forest birds and trees … how they fit

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Let’s examine how small songbirds such as warblers, vireos and flycatchers act as keystone species in forest ecosystems.

Why brown-headed cowbirds are lousy parents

Thursday, May 22, 2014

When I walked to my office this morning, I noticed a female brown-headed cowbird perched high atop the tallest tree in the yard. For 10 minutes she surveyed the surrounding area.

The old field is filled with old feathered friends

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Almost overnight, the old field below the house has greened up, and birds have set up nesting territories. Bluebirds were the first to lay eggs because the nest box protects the eggs from the elements. Within just a few weeks, however, field sparrows, indigo buntings, white-eyed vireos, and cardinals have also established territories. Nest on […]

The language of birds is a beautiful one

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Birds vocalize throughout the year, but the purpose of the sounds varies. Always, however, birds sing to communicate.

A trip to the zoo might change the course of your life

Thursday, May 1, 2014

By SCOTT SHALAWAY Early childhood experiences often shape the adults we become. In my case, I remember going to the Philadelphia Zoo with my parents. I relished those times with my mom and dad and recall them fondly now. Lions, tigers, and bears were just the stuff of books, but at the zoo they became […]

Finding stinky roots and delicious mushrooms

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Morel season is a memorable time of year, and it’s finally here!

Coming soon to a garden near you: Hummingbirds

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The best way to attract hummingbirds is to plant native, nectar-bearing flowers.

If you can, take a kid fishing this spring season

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Few experiences are more rewarding than introducing a child to the outdoors. I remember teaching my daughters at the age of three to recognize the voice of a barred owl – “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all!” They were amazed they could identify a bird without seeing it. And when my wife and […]

Bird songs everyone actually knows and sings

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Early migrants began returning several weeks ago. Turkey vultures, killdeer, and phoebes were probably as befuddled by the late winter weather as we were. But by early April, we should be safe from any more extended cold snaps. And that means the parade of returning migratory birds will accelerate every week. Bird songs To prepare […]

To truly appreciate nature, one must experience it

Thursday, March 27, 2014

To truly enjoy and appreciate nature, we must experience it. It recharges the soul, and it actually made me feel better physically.

Getting ready for birding in the spring season

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Last week I did my best to think spring by suggesting that it was time to put up a few nest boxes for cavity-nesting birds such as eastern bluebirds, tufted titmice, Carolina wrens, and chickadees. This week it’s time for the next step despite a forecast for more severe winter weather. It will warm up […]

Getting ready for birding in the spring season

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Last week I did my best to think spring by suggesting that it was time to put up a few nest boxes for cavity-nesting birds such as eastern bluebirds, tufted titmice, Carolina wrens, and chickadees. This week it’s time for the next step despite a forecast for more severe winter weather. It will warm up […]

Ruffed Grouse Society adds woodcock option

Thursday, February 27, 2014

To an unsuspecting beginner, flushing a grouse or woodcock can be unnerving.

Tired of snow? Think spring and start building a birdhouse

Thursday, February 20, 2014

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 […]

Whatever you call it, Ground Hog Day is harmless fun

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Even states where ground hogs don’t occur have come up with ways to get in on the action.

Project SNOWstorm for the snowy owls

Thursday, January 30, 2014

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 […]

Let the nesting season begin, in spite of the cold

Thursday, January 23, 2014

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 […]

Readers wonder, ‘Where are my birds this winter?’

Thursday, January 16, 2014

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 […]

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