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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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behavior

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 →

Vert-de-Gris

It isn't easy being green. Kermit the Frog said it, so you know it has to be true. He's always seemed a reluctant celebrity, so my guess is that being the most famous Muppet-amphibian on the planet isn't always a... 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 →

Oddly Normal

I don't live far from the eclipse's Path of Totality, but I decided to stay put just the same. I didn't even order eclipse glasses. I know there will be plenty of great video to watch throughout the day, and... 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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