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Next-Door Nature

tales from a wild metropolis

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vertebrates

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 →

Moot Swans

Just in case readers assume the title of this post is a typo, let me assure you it is not. I'm fully aware that the photos featured here are of mute swans (Cygnus olor) but, like any wordsmith worth her... 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 →

Tickbait

7 Weird Tricks for Preventing Tick Bites You Can't Afford to Ignore! 4 Dirty Secrets Borrelia spp. Bacteria Hope You Never Learn! 10 Sneaky Signs of Lyme Disease (#9 Will Blow Your Mind)! If only Peromyscus mice could read, maybe... Continue Reading →

Dashiell Hears A Hoot

[In honor of (and with apologies to) Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.]  On February the fourth, 'neath skies colored gray, In the dimming light, at the end of the day, He was walking, the sights and smells thrilling, When Dashiell... Continue Reading →

Counting Crows

 One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy. Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret, Never to be told. Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss, Ten for a bird,... 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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