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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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urban

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 →

Back Up!

“This is my favorite place in the whole entire world,” I murmured to myself. Admittedly, for then 6-year-old me, the whole entire world consisted of a 150 mile ring around two river confluences of great consequence in my life —... Continue Reading →

Vice Squad

I was just trying to help, I swear. In fact, the primary directive in wildlife rehabilitation is: First, do no harm. But the indignant male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) I had just lifted out of a shoebox clearly interpreted my... Continue Reading →

Treehuggers

I've been called a treehugger more than once in my life, and while I know the comments weren't intended as such, I always take them as compliments. As a sobriquet it's both true and false: true, because I do spontaneously... Continue Reading →

Wingsuit

Is there any non-human skill people covet more passionately than the ability to fly? Understandably, early aviation experiments centered around mimicry of birds, complete with flapping arms that were usually covered in feathers. The Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus... Continue Reading →

Long-Stemmed

Daddy longlegs are the jazz cats of the arachnid world! This realization came to me as I watched a single backlit note poised on a broken music staff bebop across the asphalt path in front of me. A soundtrack of... Continue Reading →

Vert-de-Gris

It isn't easy being green. Kermit the Frog said it, so you know it has to be true. He's always seemed a reluctant celebrity, so my guess is that being the most famous Muppet-amphibian on the planet isn't always a... 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 →

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