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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

Bull Session

I say potato, you like potahtos. You wear pajamas, I wear PJs. And a rose by any other name, we're told, would smell equally sweet. So does it really matter that we all agree on what to call an American... 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 cafĂ©, convenience store, or Kroger. The same cannot be said about the... Continue Reading →

Watchdogs

I heard sharp calls piercing the air, even before I noticed the compound of earthen dwellings, and knew that sentinels had spotted me and my canine companion. Last autumn, I spent some time in New Mexico. I lived there, between... 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 →

Treehuggers

I've been called a treehugger more than once in my life, and while I know the comments weren't intended as such, I always take them as compliments. As a sobriquet it's both true and false: true, because I do spontaneously... Continue Reading →

Wingsuit

Is there any non-human skill people covet more passionately than the ability to fly? Understandably, early aviation experiments centered around mimicry of birds, complete with flapping arms that were usually covered in feathers. The Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus... Continue Reading →

Long-Stemmed

Daddy longlegs are the jazz cats of the arachnid world! This realization came to me as I watched a single backlit note poised on a broken music staff bebop across the asphalt path in front of me. A soundtrack of... Continue Reading →

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