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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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behavior

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 →

Bird is the Word

Hey all you Blueberry Hill Jacks and Jills! Check out this crazy crooner and his backup chicks with their keyboard-themed threads and choreographed grooves!  Good Golly, Miss Molly, this nifty summer act is a blast!  Give the Black-and-White Warblers (Mniotilta... 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 →

Eight is Enough

The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small bird who raises large families. Having a lot of children isn't uncommon in the natural world but titmice parents are unusual in that they often follow the sitcom script for managing a... Continue Reading →

The Great Pumpkinseed

Setting out for a walk, I paused just past my building's threshold to savor morning air crisp as a fresh Granny Smith apple, perfumed with a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves that have been whisked, infused, and frappéd... Continue Reading →

Slings and Arrows

I wonder if Henry knew that not everything shot into the air falls back to Earth. I'm not denying the sovereignty of gravity but if the arrow is a male common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) hoping to impress a potential mate... Continue Reading →

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