Thump. Thud. Something was hitting our window! It was a bright red cardinal flying at his reflected image in the glass – which he perceived to be an intruder in his territory. The bird kept it up for an hour, until I covered the window. On other occasions that spring, this cardinal attacked his reflection at a different window and in the car’s side mirror. [Read more…] about Singing Cardinals Defend Territories
Around the middle of March, I begin to feel that springtime urge to hit the road, to lace up the winter-neglected running shoes and start slogging through some miles.
My early-season jogs take me past a wetland area that stubbornly spans both sides of a road near my home. It’s a usual – and very welcome – happening to spot red-winged blackbirds here, even while snow lingers around the cattails and brushy willows. [Read more…] about Red-Winged Blackbird Epaulets Play Important Role
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a call for citizen science volunteers to help in the development of a comprehensive, statewide survey that takes place every two decades to detail New York’s breeding bird distribution.
Starting in 2020, five years of field surveys will be conducted by volunteers and project partners to provide the data that will be analyzed to create the third New York State Breeding Bird Atlas. [Read more…] about Birdwatchers Sought for 2020 Breeding Bird Atlas
This is such a disorienting time, when all our lives have been turned upside down and shaken. One of the ways my own family is coping is by spending time outside every day.
We stage nature treasure hunts in the woods behind our house. [Read more…] about A Treasure Hunt for Early Spring
Beware! Pictured here are your adversaries – the official enemies of the state. Don’t be distracted by the pretty colors, lovely feathers, or furry critters. These are vermin, and citizens are urged to kill them at every opportunity.
The poster, by the way, represents only the top nine targets from a group of notorious killers, presented here alphabetically: bobcat, Cooper’s hawk, crow, English sparrow, goshawk, gray fox, great gray owl, great horned owl, house rat, “hunting” house cat, lynx, porcupine, red fox, red squirrel, sharp-shinned hawk, snowy owl, starling, weasel, and woodchuck. Kingfishers and a number of snakes were later added, and osprey were fair game as well. [Read more…] about A Century Ago: New York’s War on Animals
From a lifetime of experiences, and reading nature books since childhood, it’s true that I should know a little more about wildlife than the average Joe, but I lay no claim to being an expert. Learning something new is a principal reason for reading books, and of late, I’ve had occasion to indulge in several excellent Adirondack-related titles written between 1840 and 1920.
In one of them, a particular passage caused me to stop, backtrack, read it again, and then one more time in disbelief. Since other animal behavior described in the book held true, I supposed this one should as well, but I had reservations. Above all, one thing was certain: confirmation would be hilarious, at least to my thinking. The claim was that bald eagles snore. And not only that: they snore LOUDLY. Experienced guides and hunters claimed it to be true. [Read more…] about Birds in History: New York’s Snoring Eagles?