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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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Biology

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 →

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 →

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