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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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Bird

Multi-Tasker

I found a blue jay feather this morning while I was out walking my dog, Dash. That isn't remarkable — jays are a common species here, and because the color blue is relatively scarce in the natural environment (except for... 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 →

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 →

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 →

Roadside Attraction

Ever dreamed of going on a safari? Then fasten your seat belt, start the engine, and hit the road. Any road. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts—take the time to look and you’ll spy enough wildlife to satisfy, Bwana. Sure,... Continue Reading →

Border Battles

Last Sunday morning I unexpectedly found myself sitting ringside for a brief but furious brawl. Two male red-bellied woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) were having a boundary dispute that started with an argument over some shrubbery then escalated into a full-on aerial... Continue Reading →

Tangled Up in Blue

Happiness is a shy little bird. Hiding from sight in life’s nooks and crannies, impossible to find if you look but then it darts out and lands on your shoulder just when you least expect it. It sidles up beside... Continue Reading →

Wobbling Waxwings

I recently came across a report that cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) have returned to Texas. Every time I hear someone mention this species I'm reminded of  my days as director of a wildlife center in Houston. For a few weeks... Continue Reading →

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