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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

Baby Blues

Identifying songbirds by their calls is not my forte. Sure, I can distinguish most common backyard residents with distinctive voices, including mourning doves (Coo.... coo, coo), Carolina chickadees (Fee-bee-fee-bay or chickadee-dee-dee), American robins (Cheerily, cheer-up, cheer-up! Cheerily, cheer-up!!), red-winged blackbirds... Continue Reading →

Near and Distant

African elephants (Loxodonta africana) aren't usually considered an urban wildlife species but I'd come a long way and wanted to see them while I was in South Africa. The built environment just doesn't have the amenities Earth's largest living terrestrial... Continue Reading →

Town Crier

My flight into Cape Town landed early last night, just before 9p. That was fine by me since, by that point, I'd been on the plane about 11.5 hours, and in transit from Blacksburg, Virginia for about 31 hours.  For... Continue Reading →

Hammers and Hydrangeas

Productivity.  A word that has long enjoyed favored status in U.S. culture. Americans are always trying to do more work in less time so we can… do even more work. We purchase time-saving apps and appliances and then fill the... Continue Reading →

Flight School

The 2015 class of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) naval aviators started flight school this week! I’ve been watching these youngsters on daily dog-walks in the park since early May. When they first showed up I noticed their resemblance, in size and coloration,... Continue Reading →

Summer Soundtrack

One of my favorite things about summer is the free outdoor concerts. I’m not talking about local bands that occasionally perform from the park gazebo even though they can be a pleasant accompaniment to my evening dog walk. No, nothing says summer... Continue Reading →

British Invasion

It seems to happen once each century. In 1775 the Redcoats showed up in Boston, the Beatles made a big splash about 200 years later in 1964, and in the sweet-spot in-between the House Sparrows (Passer domestics) arrived. . It’s difficult... Continue Reading →

Comeback

Heat and Humidity have resumed their annual one-upmanship contest here in Arch City. Being outdoors mid-day can be unpleasant, so my canine companion and I have been trying to beat them to the starting blocks by heading out for our... Continue Reading →

Goodness Knows

Kindergarteners swarmed around the khaki-clad naturalist, squealing with excitement, shouting out questions and jockeying for a better view. The adult volunteers on this field trip were a tougher audience. “I’m glad they’re having fun but I don’t see why anyone should... Continue Reading →

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