BEAVER, A FURRY NEW NEIGHBOR – Life In The Outdoors

We have a new neighbor. One, maybe two, maybe more. Beavers have moved into the wetland at the end of our pasture. We haven’t seen them. Beavers are nocturnal. Only on rare occasions does a beaver venture out during the day. But by the cutting trees, they make it obvious as soon as beaver move into an area. If they stay, soon after they arrive there will likely be a d
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BLUE JAY: THE AMUSING RASCAL – Life In The Outdoors

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. I didn’t see another bird in any of the trees or bushes in the yard aro
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CHANGING NATURE’S CALENDAR – Life In The Outdoors

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.

The difference in the length of day wasn’t noticeable in the lat

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SQUIRRELS WELCOME

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 that come to the bird feeder outside my study window, oran
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RARE BIRD ON A SUNNY MORNING

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 a tree across the road by my house.

It was early morning, the sky was clear and th

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CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE – Life In The Outdoors

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 living wild was fair game. Where there was more than one t
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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, alternately staring at my computer screen and out the window behind it,

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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, the house. But ten, fifteen, twenty years ago the bats were gone. Was th

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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 sixty, eighty, even a hundred years old, but it hadn’t been alive since 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 and other animals was therapy. Even driving on a country road, notici

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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 is slight, a few minutes, not enough to notice the change from one day to th
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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 our hay field and continued out of sight to the east. I didn’t see the fox.
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BIRDS, BEES, FLOWERS, TREES TELL SPRING IS HERE

There’s a robin on the lawn in front of my house, walking through the dry brown leaves of last year and the grass that’s a mix of winter yellow and brown and spring-time green. It’s a male, likely the robin I’ve heard singing from a tree in front of the house soon after dawn the last few days.

I saw robins in January and February this year, and last December. But they w

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