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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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natural history

Broken Record

Arrrggghhh!  I can NOT get that song out of my head!!  I don't know where I heard it, maybe the grocery store's Music to Inspire Endcap Impulse Purchases station. It's familiar but definitely not a favorite. I have eclectic musical... Continue Reading →

The Hawk Who Mistook Her Mate for a Meal

Seriously, it could happen to anyone. Well, any working mom operating on instinct and snap-judgements who needs to snag some groceries before she flies back home to those perpetually ravenous kiddos. Okay... maybe it couldn't happen to anyone. But every... Continue Reading →

The Jet Set

Everyone has their own personal markers of summer—the flash of a firefly, the pulsing hum of cicadas, the aroma of freshly cut grass... I'm sure you have a favorite.  To my mind, nothing says summer quite as definitively as the... Continue Reading →

Helicopter Parent

As the most literal of helicopter parents, a ruby-throated hummingbird mom (RTH, Archilochus colubris) takes hovering to a whole new competitive level. In the case of this feathered sprite (2.8 - 3.5" long, including bill, and just over 1/10 of... Continue Reading →

A Moveable Feast

They say necessity is the mother of invention — I guess that's why spiders found a clever way to order in, long before Kroger and Amazon began to lug customer's grub. Not even a Costco cart is big enough to... Continue Reading →

Spineless Samurai

When the annual cicadas emerge each summer their tymbals vibrate at arboreal drumming circles all over town.  The beats bounce and reverberate against hard city surfaces; during a crescendo, I swear I can feel the buildings and sidewalks pulsing like... Continue Reading →

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 →

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