Speaking of Nature
Bill Danielson photo
A mature pied-billed grebe has a white bill with a black stripe running up the middle.

Speaking of Nature: Pied-billed grebes do exits!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One of the great joys of my life has been the ever-growing relationship that I have with the birds of the world. As time passes, I find that I learn more and more about our avian neighbors and the sense of familiarity deepens every time I pick up a bird guide and flip through its pages. Like many birders, I … 0

Speaking of Nature: There’s a new vulture in town

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back in the fall of 1986, I entered the wildlife biology program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with so much to learn. My head contained a smattering of information about the birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and fish that populated the countryside in which I grew up, while my heart was brimming over with … 0

Speaking of Nature: The cricket moon

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The last glorious days of summer are upon us. September is here and the world has taken on a definite and delightful quality that is distinct and easy to hear. Many of our birds are preparing to leave us, while the others are shifting from the breeding season to the off season. As … 0

Speaking of Nature: The hairy woodpecker

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I had every intention of writing a story about Florida for today’s column. I was going to select some wonderfully exotic bird for which I had wonderfully exotic photos and I would then weave an intricate story about … 0

Speaking of Nature: Martin’s broken wing

Thursday, February 13, 2014

With the arrival of fresh snow last week, I decided to give my Environmental Science students a challenging assignment; something a little different from the standard, “read a paper and then tell me what you think” kind of … 2

Speaking of Nature: Beauty is in the ear of the beholder

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One of the great delights in any naturalist’s work is introducing others to something new. Sometimes this takes the form of a rare sight seldom seen by people, while other times it comes in the guise of a … 0

Speaking of Nature: the anhinga

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When I looked at the calendar on my office desk, I was absolutely floored by how quickly time has gone by. January is more than half over, midterms are already under way and winter break is just around … 0

Speaking of Nature: surf scoters

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

As is always the case at this time of year, the weather is on our minds. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen rainy days in the 50s followed by heavy snows and temperatures below zero. Then, just … 0

Speaking of Nature: What a difference a day can make

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The difference between 2013 and 2014 was probably not a particularly sharp one for many of you, but the shift that I experienced was amplified by the fact that I had traveled. My mother-in-law (Fran) celebrated her 75th … 0

Kids & Critters: mourning doves

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) is as elegant as it is common. A little larger than the average birds that inhabit our back yards, the mourning dove is about 12 inches in length. Much of that is accounted … 0

Speaking of Nature

Thursday, December 26, 2013

As is customary at this time of year, I am going to take a look back at 2013 and try to determine what made it different from all of the other years I have lived through. This is … 0

Speaking of Nature: Snowy Sunday

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When I awoke last Sunday morning, I realized that we were no longer waiting for winter. Although her arrival was not scheduled until Dec. 21, it was clear that she had arrived a little early. The world had … 0

Speaking of Nature: Waiting for winter

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

By the time this column hits the newsstands, we will be just nine days away from the official start of winter — that magical day when we in the northern hemisphere will find ourselves turned as completely away … 0

Kids & Critters: A burst of color

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December is here and that mean that Christmas vacation will be upon us soon. For many people this means a trip to see relatives in far off places. My students are already talking about their plans for the … 0

Speaking of Nature: Give thanks

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Sunday, I woke up to discover that winter had finally arrived. The world was rather familiar looking when the sun went down on Saturday, but by the time the sun returned, there had been a change. Snow … 0