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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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birds

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 →

Dee-Lovely

How often do you come across a bird so dee-lightful, so dee-lectable that it captured the attention of characters as disparate as W.C. Fields and Cole Porter? Quite often, actually, because chickadees (Poecile spp) are far from rare in North... Continue Reading →

Dashiell Hears A Hoot

[In honor of (and with apologies to) Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.]  On February the fourth, 'neath skies colored gray, In the dimming light, at the end of the day, He was walking, the sights and smells thrilling, When Dashiell... Continue Reading →

Counting Crows

 One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy. Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret, Never to be told. Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss, Ten for a bird,... Continue Reading →

Zipped

On frosty mornings, Mercury is uncharacteristically slow to leave that snug thermometer bulb... and I can't say I blame him. I've been in no hurry to leave my own cozy bed since Winter hit town back in early November.  However,... Continue Reading →

Grassroots

Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence, especially if your yard-care ethic is benign neglect, and your neighbor is a wannabe greenskeeper. Generally speaking, though, the sentiment behind that familiar grassy idiom is sound—we... Continue Reading →

Rideshare

My wire fox terrier and I were walking along a favorite path on a cool autumn morning. Stopping to investigate a patch of tall plants clinging to the steep sides of a ridge that used to carry Virginia Anthracite Coal... Continue Reading →

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