My next article, I decided one afternoon, is going to be about the blue jay. Coincidentally, when I sat at my desk to start writing that article was just one bird on the feeder outside my study window, a blue jay. Further, not only was that jay the only bird at my feeder, it was the only bird in sight.
June twenty-second is the summer solstice, when day and night are of equal length in the northern hemisphere; the official date of the start of summer in the northern hemisphere. Each day since June twenty-second has been a few minutes shorter than the day before, each night a few minutes longer.
Crows are black feathered bad boys, disliked by farmers and by birders. To the displeasure of farmers they eat corn, pulling up sprouts to get the grains. They also kill and eat chicks. To the displeasure of birders, crows raid nests and eat eggs and nestlings of smaller birds.
I’ve heard hunters
I heard a report on TV recently that squirrels are getting fat. With the report was a picture, a photo, of two obviously fat squirrels sitting on their haunches. They were facing the camera and each had its forefeet together on its bulging belly. They were fox squirrels, the same species as the squirrels
To a dedicated bird watcher there’s no better way to start the day than with the sighting of a rare bird. That’s just what I did a few days ago. I got up, washed, dressed, went to my desk, looked out the window in front of my desk and there it was, a red-shouldered hawk, perched on a branch of
One hundred seventeen years ago, before 1900, it was the custom of hunters in America to get together as teams and spend one full day during the Christmas holidays killing as many animals as they could. Rabbits, squirrels, deer, foxes, woodchucks, hawks, owls, song birds, anything furred or feathered
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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,
“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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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