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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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birds

Helicopter Parent

As the most literal of helicopter parents, a ruby-throated hummingbird mom (RTH, Archilochus colubris) takes hovering to a whole new competitive level. In the case of this feathered sprite (2.8 - 3.5" long, including bill, and just over 1/10 of... Continue Reading →

Telephone

This university town is always less crowded during the summer. Most students are at home or on summer internships, faculty and graduate students are using the break to slip away for some R&R or doing research at field sites, and... Continue Reading →

Fast Food

When humans talk about making a breakfast, lunch, or dinner run, it's understood that we're speaking metaphorically. Truth be told, we'll probably drive, not jog, to a local café, convenience store, or Kroger. The same cannot be said about the... Continue Reading →

Vice Squad

I was just trying to help, I swear. In fact, the primary directive in wildlife rehabilitation is: First, do no harm. But the indignant male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) I had just lifted out of a shoebox clearly interpreted my... Continue Reading →

Virtuosity

Maybe Bobby McFerrin was a house wren (Troglodytes aedon) in a previous life. This thought popped into my mind when, after listening to On Being's Krista Tippett interview the singer, I went out for a walk with my canine companion.... Continue Reading →

Lonesome Doves

It's a fine world, though rich in hardships at times. ~ Larry McMurtry There's a sweetness in the lament of a mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) that makes the sorrow bearable, and believable. Theirs isn't an pop tune about a hookup... Continue Reading →

Multi-Tasker

I found a blue jay feather this morning while I was out walking my dog, Dash. That isn't remarkable — jays are a common species here, and because the color blue is relatively scarce in the natural environment (except for... Continue Reading →

Spotted!

Supermarket tabloids love just-like-us features so they pay paparazzi top dollar to catch somebodies acting like nobodies. Today I'm focused on the Towhees. They like to keep a low profile but I'm a pro and I know how to find... Continue Reading →

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