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Next-Door Nature

tales from the wild metropolis

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avian

Fishing for the Right Tool

Strolling through Lafayette Park early one evening, I took note of the usual suspects distributed along the edge of the centerpiece man-made lake as they waited patiently for red-and-white bobbers to disappear below the surface. The fisher-folk are a common... Continue Reading →

Slurpy

You know how there's always that last bit of liquid in the glass, just a few drops, that's resistant to lift-off no matter how many times you re-position the straw or how much suction force you apply?  Well, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers... Continue Reading →

Homebodies

Anywhere you hang your hat is home, or so the saying goes, but the same holds true even if your cap is actually a cluster of rose-colored feathers, or even a cloche of streaky tan and taupe.  Perhaps we rarely... Continue Reading →

Endemic Immigrants

Descendants of German immigrants are living in the city park a couple of blocks from my loft. Nobody in this historic St. Louis neighborhood seems to mind, least of all me. In fact, this family has had an encampment there... Continue Reading →

Exceptional

"He sure does have a chip on his shoulder!" That statement is a metaphor... ... except when it isn't. Taken literally, this idiom for describing someone looking for a fight may also refer to the ornamental insignia on a military... Continue Reading →

Malleable

Like water off a duck's back — That tried and true adaptability adage is an apt observation for just about any species of waterfowl, thanks to their liquid-resistant outer contour feathers, but in the case of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) it's... Continue Reading →

Basket Case

We can argue until the chickens come home to roost about which 19th century influencer said it first, industrialist Andrew Carnegie or author and humorist Mark Twain, but there's little dispute that most birds wholeheartedly agree with the statement, "Put... Continue Reading →

Silent Flight

The natural world outside my Midwestern door is preparing for a long winter nap. Cozy quilts made of homespun leaves keep tree feet from getting too cold. Seeds and insect eggs, the harvest of the previous growing season, have slipped... Continue Reading →

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