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.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, everyone knows squirrels. “Squirrels,” however, is a generic term. I use it here to refer to game species — gray, fox and red squirrels. These are the three species of tree squirrels that most eastern state wildlife agencies recognize as game species. To confuse the issue just a bit, some […]
Recently Tennessee’s Fish & Wildlife Commission approved the state’s first modern day sandhill crane hunt. It will run from Nov. 28 through Jan. 1. A drawing for 400 permits will be held Oct. 19. Sandhill cranes are a large (4 feet tall and 6- to 7-foot wingspan, 7 to 10 pounds), charismatic species that birders […]
My first night at Boy Scout summer camp many years ago, I was rousted from my sleeping bag to go on a snipe hunt. It was just a ploy to get first timers lost in the woods at night. Older scouts oversaw the event to be sure no one really got lost, and I learned […]
At $15, a “Duck Stamp” is arguably the best investment a conservationist can make. More formally called the “Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp,” the Duck Stamp was created in 1934. Hunters lobbied for this “tax” on themselves to ensure that waterfowl would forever fill the skies. A supplement to a state hunting license, […]
Recovering an endangered species requires legal protection, habitat, motivated staff, funding and time. Sometimes it can take decades for a species to recover. When a species has an extended reproductive period and breeds only once each year, time will be the limiting factor in the species’ recovery. Consider, for example, bald eagles in Pennsylvania. In […]
North America’s duck populations stable or improving.
Summer time is insect time. Unfortunately, stinging and biting species such as wasps and mosquitoes get most of our attention for all the wrong reasons. Many insects are beneficial, and most are benign. My favorite summer insects are hummingbird moths. I know they have begun to emerge because digital images from readers arrive almost daily. […]
A few weeks ago I wrote about snakes and why they’re good to have around. I urged readers to protect them rather than kill them on sight. I expected a fury of letters from snake haters. I was pleasantly surprised to get no such mail. This is the first time I’ve written about snakes that […]
It’s not often I devote an entire column to a single new book, but The Warbler Guide, by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle (2013, Princeton University Press, $29.95, to be published July 24) deserves such attention. At 560 pages, The Warbler Guide thoroughly covers all 56 species of North American warblers. The first 137 pages […]
The best of summer comes from the garden or a roadside produce stand; the worst lurks in our backyards. My favorite summer garden foods are watermelon, cantaloupe and sweet corn. Explorers introduced melons to North America in the 16th century. Watermelons originated in Africa; cantaloupes came from Persia. A perfect watermelon is ripe, sweet, and […]
Last week my wife informed me she had seen the first big black rat snake of the year stretched across the road in front of our house. “What are you going to do about it?” she asked/demanded. I answered as I always do: “Nothing. I’m not about to kill a snake simply because it has […]
At 5 a.m. May 19 I awoke abruptly to a loud sound just outside the bedroom door. As the cobwebs cleared my mind, I realized I was hearing a whip-poor-will. Whip-poor-will Having heard whip-poor-wills only five times over the last 25 years, I thought perhaps I had set my bird alarm clock to wake me […]
Last week’s column about ticks drew a quick response from many readers, including a great tip about a simple, inexpensive tool to remove engorged ticks. Rod Groomes, M.D., director of the emergency department at Armstrong County Memorial Hospital in Kittanning, Pa. for 27 year, wrote, “I’m an ER doc in rural Pennsylvania, and I have […]