It gave me one quick look, then disappeared through a maze of tunnels in the thick autumn grass. I would have loved to follow this meadow vole, like Alice and her white rabbit, to find out where it was planning to spend its winter. [Read more…] about The Life of Voles
For nearly a decade, I’ve been adding to a brush pile in the woods behind my home. A depository of pruned branches, dead flowers, discarded logs, old leaves, and an occasional Christmas tree, the pile is a decaying testament to seasons and chores long past. Over the years, the pile has settled a bit as the accumulated debris has slowly broken down. Yet, the brush pile remains as intended: a woody oasis for wildlife. [Read more…] about Life In A Backyard Brush Pile
After five months of rehabilitation, The Wild Center has released two female North American river otters in the Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, a 15,000-acre biological field research station in the Western Adirondacks. [Read more…] about Wild Center Releases Rehabilitated River Otters
Two chipmunks vie for seeds on our front lawn. One lives directly underneath the bird feeder. Another hails from the far side of the house, address unknown.
The chipmunks appear identical to me: same size, same stripes. Same interests, namely seed hoarding, aggressive chittering, jumping into the bushes and back out again, and brazen stiff-tailed standoffs with the dog. [Read more…] about Chipmunks Are Preparing For Winter
In 2011, my husband and I planted 128 fruit trees on a hillside, mostly apples, but the back few rows included stone fruits. Our apples began producing with gusto after only a few years. We made gallons of cider and sold bushels of heirloom apples. But the plums have required patience. Their blossoms are so delicate and our springs so unpredictable that after eight years, there were still varieties we had yet to taste.
Over the years, we have been loyal. We have not eaten anyone else’s plums. Then we were rewarded when all five of our small Stanley plum trees produced dark blue fruit. By the end of that September, they had almost ripened. [Read more…] about Coyotes Prepare for Winter
Several small game hunting seasons open October 1st across New York State, including special youth hunts and hunting opportunities for active-duty military members and veterans. [Read more…] about New York’s Small Game Hunting Seasons Start Oct 1
All mammals that employ the use of a shelter in winter instinctively attempt to find a place completely hidden from the view of humans for their home, except for one.
When the time comes in late summer or early autumn for establishing a protective enclosure for the coming season of cold, ice and snow, only the beaver places its residence in a spot that can be readily noticed by a person passing through the area. [Read more…] about Beavers Are Building Their Lodges
Along with the crisp mornings and crimson colors that signal summer’s slide into fall, there are changes occurring in the forests that go mostly unnoticed. Among them is the dispersal of fisher kits from their mother’s territory into their own. [Read more…] about Breakup of Fisher Families
Aside from humans, perhaps no other species can modify its surroundings for its own purposes as much as beaver.
Throughout much of North America, these busy critters take down trees and dam streams to create waterways safe from predators and to lay up enough woody food stores to last the winter.
This exuberant activity is why beavers are known as “ecosystem engineers,” or species that profoundly change their environment in out-sized proportion to their numbers. [Read more…] about How Beavers Modify Forests: New Understandings
We were touring the neighborhood backroads one summer evening when the kids noticed a sleek movement through a small pond.
At first, we thought it was a beaver, but its smaller size and – once we got a closer look – slender tail revealed this swimmer as a muskrat. It went along its way, and we went along ours, happy to have spotted this wetlands rodent. [Read more…] about Muskrats: Swimming Through Summer