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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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birds

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 →

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 →

Learning Curves

Do you remember being 15 years old and walking out the door of your local DMV with a learner's permit in your sweaty hand? Perched on the edge of your family-of-origin nest with wings outstretched, ready to fly into the... Continue Reading →

Fish, Out of Water

Sometimes, what may appear as indolence, indecision, or timid reluctance is, in fact, a strategic decision to bide one's time until the moment is right. Consider, if you will, the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). These stocky slate-and-chalk hued birds with... Continue Reading →

Moot Swans

Just in case readers assume the title of this post is a typo, let me assure you it is not. I'm fully aware that the photos featured here are of mute swans (Cygnus olor) but, like any wordsmith worth her... Continue Reading →

Socially Distant

Lately, when I'm feeling especially stressed or anxious, I find it comforting to escape reality by watching a sitcom episode, or three, from "the before-times," a term now being use as shorthand for "everything prior to the first quarter of... Continue Reading →

Red-headed Stranger

If the stranger hoped to slip into Lafayette Square unnoticed he went about it all wrong. Sure, choosing a plain white top beneath an unadorned black waistcoat might sound like a reasonable way to avoid detection, especially when one is... Continue Reading →

Headfirst

Watching a white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) cascade along the steep slope of a tree brought to mind the playground at Oakville Elementary, and made me wonder if the species' iconic bottoms-up foraging style is the result of a dare. The... Continue Reading →

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