Stories by Scott Shalaway

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 […]

2012 waterfowl survey results look good

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The results of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2012 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are in, and the news should please duck hunters. Based on aerial surveys over more than two million square miles, the estimate of total ducks in North America was 48.6 million, up from last year’s of 45.6 million and […]

Wildlife netting can do far more harm than good

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Three years ago my wife found an opossum in one of our sheds with a plastic six-pack ring around its neck. I immobilized the ‘possum with a towel, and we cut off the ring. The critter toddled off without even playing ‘possum. No harm, no foul, just a reminder of the harm that such plastics […]

The bane of every summer — stings and bites

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A few weeks ago my wife called from upstairs. There was an unusual urgency in her voice. When I found her, I understood. She had been stung by a bald-faced hornet. It got her right by her eye, and her face swelled up immediately. Within minutes, hives covered much of her body. Linda has been […]

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About Scott

Scott Shalaway, who holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Michigan State University, writes from his home in rural West Virginia. A former faculty member at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma Biological Station, he has been writing a weekly nature column for newspapers and freelancing for magazines since 1986. He can be heard 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays on 620 KHB Radio or online at www.khbradio.com. Visit www.drshalawaycom or contact him directly at sshalaway@aol.com or 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033. Send questions and comments to scottshalaway@gmail.com. You can also visit his Web site, http://scottshalaway.googlepages.com.