Stories by Scott Shalaway

Dark-eyed juncos — a sure sign of winter

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Call them juncos or snowbirds, their return means temperatures are dropping and snow will soon fly.

Trail cams give you an around-the-clock view

Thursday, October 24, 2013

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 […]

Falling temperatures sends signal to fill the feeders

Thursday, October 17, 2013

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 […]

Now’s a good time to plant shrubs, trees, vines

Thursday, October 10, 2013

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.

Pheasants are a fading symbol of autumn

Thursday, October 3, 2013

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 […]

‘M&M’ season for the birds, without the chocolate

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall is also migration and molt season, for birds.

Black squirrels can create identification problem

Thursday, September 12, 2013

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 […]

Tennessee approves first sandhill crane hunt

Thursday, September 5, 2013

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 […]

Are some birds too small to hunt?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

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 […]

A duck stamp for every hunter and every birder

Thursday, August 15, 2013

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, […]

Another banner year reported for bald eagles

Thursday, August 8, 2013

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 […]

Growing numbers: Ducks’ dynasty improving

Thursday, August 1, 2013

North America’s duck populations stable or improving.

Some summer insects not to swat

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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. […]

Monster to neighbor — attitudes about snakes

Thursday, July 18, 2013

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 […]

The Warbler Guide: A comprehensive resource

Thursday, July 11, 2013

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 and worst of summer, through plants

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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 […]

Copperhead or milk snake or rat snake?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

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 […]

Whip-poor-will, owls and katydids: Night sounds

Thursday, June 20, 2013

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 […]

Mail call: Shalaway hears feedback on ticks

Thursday, June 13, 2013

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 […]

Lyme disease may be a big problem in 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

If personal experience and reader reports are reliable indicators, this summer could be a bad one for ticks and Lyme disease. Since early April, I’ve removed countless ticks from my clothing, and several have been attached at the base of the hairline on my neck. Likewise, I’ve heard from many readers since late winter who […]

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