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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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Nature

Sorority Girls Gone Mild

The facade isn’t impressive. You won't see Greek letters out front or any other obvious signs but I’m here to tell ya, an anthill is a sorority. One of the first, in fact. The scene is totally social, but if... Continue Reading →

Malleable

Like water off a duck's back — That tried and true adaptability adage is an apt observation for just about any species of waterfowl, thanks to their liquid-resistant outer contour feathers, but in the case of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) it's... Continue Reading →

Basket Case

We can argue until the chickens come home to roost about which 19th century influencer said it first, industrialist Andrew Carnegie or author and humorist Mark Twain, but there's little dispute that most birds wholeheartedly agree with the statement, "Put... Continue Reading →

Cloak and Dagger

Shhhhh!  Don't make a sound or you'll blow his cover. Just sit quietly and watch. Butorides virescens, aka the Green Heron, is a master of stealth and stillness. He* doesn't work for the CIA or MI6; he's a freelancer but... Continue Reading →

The Big Lift

Atlas has six legs. I know that’s not how the ancient Greeks or your grade school teacher depicted him. The storytellers of Athens liked their allegories in human form and, yes, I’m sure the tale of a Titan condemned to... Continue Reading →

Silent Flight

The natural world outside my Midwestern door is preparing for a long winter nap. Cozy quilts made of homespun leaves keep tree feet from getting too cold. Seeds and insect eggs, the harvest of the previous growing season, have slipped... Continue Reading →

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 →

The Great Pumpkinseed

Setting out for a walk, I paused just past my building's threshold to savor morning air crisp as a fresh Granny Smith apple, perfumed with a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves that have been whisked, infused, and frappéd... Continue Reading →

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