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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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Flora and Fauna

Hungry

Terrier-boy transformed into a velociraptor before my very eyes! We were walking along, minding our own business, when a momentary ruffling of leaves on the side of the pavement captured Dash's attention and instinct took over... head periscopes right... ears... Continue Reading →

Slender in the Grass

But never met this Fellow, Attended or alone, Without a tighter Breathing, and Zero at the Bone. Unlike Emily Dickinson, ophiophobia isn't an issue for me. I like snakes and know them to be upstanding ecosystem citizens... umm, ok, upstanding... 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 →

Near and Distant

African elephants (Loxodonta africana) aren't usually considered an urban wildlife species but I'd come a long way and wanted to see them while I was in South Africa. The built environment just doesn't have the amenities Earth's largest living terrestrial... 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 →

Hammers and Hydrangeas

Productivity.  A word that has long enjoyed favored status in U.S. culture. Americans are always trying to do more work in less time so we can… do even more work. We purchase time-saving apps and appliances and then fill the... 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 →

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