GO TO THE WOODS

I came to my desk to write this morning without a subject in mind. That’s not unusual. I’d think of something. The birds flying back and forth to the feeder outside the window beyond my computer would give me an idea. They often have.

The birds didn’t help this morning however. Here I’ve sat,

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SAVE THE TREES – Life In The Outdoors

To the early settlers, the pioneers, North America was a land of trees, primarily pine trees. Canada south to mid-continent there were many species of trees but white pine stood out in the minds of the British. Straight, more than a hundred feet tall, three feet in diameter at chest height, white

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HURRICANES AND WILDLIFE – Life In The Outdoors

This year, 2017, is on its way into history as the year of hurricanes for us in the United States. First there was Hurricane Harvey, blowing into Texas with a wind of 180 miles per hour, gusts over 200 miles per hour, and four feet and more of rain. Once it was ashore the winds diminished but the

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RACCOONS ARE POPULAR – Life In The Outdoors

Black mask across its eyes, small head, pointed nose and ears, bushy tail with black rings, no animal in North America is more distinctively marked, more easily recognized than a raccoon. It’s also one of the most widespread animals of North America. Its range is from southern Canada south through

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GONE ARE SPARROW HAWK AND ENGLISH SPARROW

Sparrow hawk and English sparrow were common birds when I was a boy. The sparrow hawk was a bird of the country, of open fields, though fields with trees along the edge for it nested in holes, cavities in trees. It was a small bird for a hawk, about the length of a mourning dove, its body about the

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BATS WELCOME

My daughter told me there had been a bat circling around the light by the barn when she came home from work late one night recently. Two nights later she saw it there again.

When we moved here we saw bats every summer night we went out if the weather was fair, circling around that light, the barn,

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TURTLE IN THE ROAD

Seeing a turtle in the road ahead as I drove over a hill, I slowed to give the turtle plenty time to cross the road ahead of me. Turtles, I thought as I watched the slow progress of the one in the road before me, evolved before dinosaurs. Here was a creature from the past. Not this one. It might be

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FOREST THERAPY

I’ve been receiving therapy since I was a young boy. Whenever Mother or Dad took me for a walk on a trail in the State Park, near our home town, I was receiving therapy. Walking along the river near our home, I was receiving therapy. Walking in the shade of the trees, seeing wildflowers and birds

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IT’S BIRD NESTING TIME

I was told recently of a pair of robins that built a nest on a home window sill, laid eggs, hatched a brood and are now feeding nestlings. I’ve seen young robins recently myself, black spots on their breasts, short tailed, fledglings, young out of the nest and on the ground. They were following

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SPRING ‘CRUISIN FOR BIRDS

Call it cruisin’ for birds, driving slow or riding with someone driving slow, and looking for birds. It’s a frequent activity of many birders, particularly this time of year. It’s the time of year when birds that nest in an area but migrate south for the winter have returned or are returning,

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SHOVELER, UNIQUE AMERICAN DUCK

“We are fascinated by shovelers,” a reader wrote recently, “Maybe you could find an upcoming article regarding these unique ducks.”

I like the suggestion. Shovelers are unique in several ways. They’re shallow water ducks, puddle ducks, like mallards and black ducks, pintails, gadwall and

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SPRING MANIFESTS ITSELF

Spring is here. It began by the calendar on the 20th of March, one of two days of the year when the position of sun and earth make the day and night of equal length all over the world. From that day until mid-summer each day will be a little longer, each night a little shorter. But the difference

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A TRAVELING FOX

A red fox went across our property earlier this month, before the warm weather came. There was snow on the ground, snow and ice covered our marsh. The fox came out of the woods across the road to the west, crossed a field of grass, the road in front of our house, crossed our marsh on the ice, then

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BUY LOTS OF BIRD SEED

I’ve been out-foxed by squirrels. I’ve tried to keep those bushy tailed bird feeder marauders off the bird feeder outside my study window and the feeder outside the dining room window. Squirrels have found a way to circumvent my efforts.

I know people who have purchased bird feeders that tipped

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BIRD OF THE SOUTH

The cardinal is not a southern bird. But I think of it as one, as a bird with a similar distribution as the mockingbird. It was south to me when I was a boy. I lived in northern Iowa and cardinals were described as birds of the southern part of the state.

Then one summer a cardinal was heard and seen

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THE MUTE SWAN – A LIVING LAND ORNAMENT

“There’s a swan in the run, Dad,” my daughter told me one morning as we were getting the horses in the barn. Our run is a lane for the horses, fenced, approximately twenty feet wide and leads from the end of our barn to a pasture, a second pasture. On one side of the run is the pasture behind

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LONG LIVE THE OAK TREES

After I retired my wife, our older daughter and I purchased a home in the country, 42 acres with a house and a barn, a large yard, two fenced pastured, a hay field and a pond. We also got a variety of trees. In the yard around the house were sugar and silver maples, a red maple, tulip-trees, walnut

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FALL IS HERE

The sky is clear and blue, this morning, an example of October’s bright blue weather. Today is a few minutes shorter than yesterday and tomorrow be a few minutes shorter than today. Tree leaves are changing from green to yellow and orange and red. Corn stalks in the fields are yellow-green and soybeans

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STOP FOR TURTLES

School bus drivers, oil and gas truck drivers stop for railroad crossings. I stop for turtles. I stop and when the road and traffic permits I get out, pick the turtle up, carry it across the road in the direction it was heading, then put it down, silently wishing it safe travel.

A turtle in the road

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SAVE THE BIRDS

One hundred years ago, in 1916, representatives of the United States and Great Britain signed the Migratory Bird Treaty.

Great Britain signed for Canada. The Migratory Bird Treaty was an agreement to save the birds of North America.
From the time settlers from Europe had begun coming to America,

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FLEDGLING ROBINS JUST OUT OF THE NEST – IT MUST BE SUMMERTIME!

I heard a robin chirping when I stepped outside one morning earlier this month. It was a young robin, a fledgling I thought, perhaps just out of the nest.

An adult robin sang from a tree nearby. A third robin on the ground picked something up from the grass, flew the short distance to the youngster

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MAY IS WARBLER TIME

May is the month to look for warblers in Indiana and in the other mid-latitude states of the U.S. May is the month when the warblers that nest in those states return after spending the winter farther south, many in South America, and May is the month when warblers that nest farther north pass through

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MORE ON BIRDS AND CLIMATE

Recently I wrote an article which I titled, Birds and Climate Change. In that article I listed summer birds I’ve seen this winter. By summer birds I mean birds that normally migrate, birds that leave northern Indiana and go south for the winter. I wrote that I’ve seen more summer birds in northern

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THE MUSIC OF BIRDS

My sister found it in a used bookstore in Augusta, Georgia, bought it and gave it to me. It’s obviously very old. Its cover is dull and splotchy, the title, Field Book of Wild Birds, is faded and hard to read. It’s the size, the height and width, of Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds,

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