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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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songbirds

Exceptional

"He sure does have a chip on his shoulder!" That statement is a metaphor... ... except when it isn't. Taken literally, this idiom for describing someone looking for a fight may also refer to the ornamental insignia on a military... Continue Reading →

Bird is the Word

Hey all you Blueberry Hill Jacks and Jills! Check out this crazy crooner and his backup chicks with their keyboard-themed threads and choreographed grooves!  Good Golly, Miss Molly, this nifty summer act is a blast!  Give the Black-and-White Warblers (Mniotilta... 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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