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Speaking of Nature
Look at how extremely puffy this female cardinal has gotten.  Her head and neck are "normal," but the feathers near her feet (and the snow) are really puffed out to help her stay warm. Bill Danielson photo

Kids & Critters: Puffy birds

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I was having some trouble coming up with an idea for this month’s Kids & Critters when I remembered that my colleague Mr. L has two young boys. Since Mr. L’s classroom is right across the hall from mine I walked over to ask him what kind of animals interested his sons in the winter. Mr. L said that a few days ago one of his boys noticed a bird that was “puffy.” Perfect! I had my idea. We are all familiar with the idea that birds are covered in feathers. Feathers are what give many birds the power of flight, but this is not … 0

Speaking of Nature: Sun-play on a winter Sunday

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It was the Sunday of a three-day weekend: a day that compares to no other. Everything in my bones told me to stay in bed, but the naturalist in me wanted to get up. It was already 7:15, which was a late morning for me, but because of the season it was still … 0

Speaking of Nature: The American Sycamore

Sunday, January 17, 2016

As a boy growing up in South Amherst I was lucky to have forests to play in. Behind my house there was a ravine with a small stream that trickled throughout the year and across the street there was the vastness of the Holyoke Range State Park to explore. Kids of my generation … 0

Speaking of Nature: Butterfly Project 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When I look through my records for the past 18 years of writing, I find that birds have been the taxonomic group that has received the greatest portion of my attention. This, I think, is a product of … 0

Kids and Critters: Lots of little flowers

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Fourth of July is this Saturday and I bet you can’t wait to see some fireworks. My favorites are the really big ones that spread out across the sky like giant flowers. I am particularly fond of … 0

Speaking of Nature: To spot the Eastern towhee, you need to be in the right area

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sunday was Father’s Day, which also happened to coincide with the first day of summer. To celebrate, my beautiful wife Susan and I headed to Amherst to spend the weekend with my parents. Saturday was a beautiful sunny … 0

Speaking of Nature: Two brothers

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is one of the most recognizable species of mammals in North America. Evidence from the fossil record also suggests that it is one of the oldest and most successful species, appearing about 4 … 0

Speaking of Nature: Summer

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

For those of us who live in the Temperate Zone, there’s a familiar pattern to the seasons. Winters are cold and dark, summers are warm and light, and the bookends to these two extremes are the transitional seasons … 0

Kids and Critters: The tree swallow

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Down the hill from my house, at the edge of my lawn, there is a post with a nest box on it. I placed this nest box in this particular location about 10 years ago and I have … 0

Speaking of Nature: the orchard oriole

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It was a Sunday morning (the second morning of my two-day field trip to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge) and I was up and out early once again. The previous morning I had discovered that the ducks of … 0

Speaking of Nature: The mink

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It was day one of my visit to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island and things were looking good. I was up at 5 a.m. and the weather was certainly going to cooperate, but there was … 0

Speaking of Nature: A glorious day for Bill's 700th column

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It was May 3, 1997, when my first column appeared in the Recorder. Today, 18 years later, I celebrate the publication of column No. 700. We’ve been through a lot since that first column. I changed jobs several … 0

Kids & Critters: the American Toad

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I feel much better about getting up and going to school these days. The air is warmer in the morning and it is scented with the perfume of damp earth. More than … 0

Speaking of Nature: Skunk cabbage, the earliest of flowers

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I’m up early to write this week’s column and as I sit in the silence of the pre-dawn hours, I can hear the telltale patter of raindrops on the roof just above my head. It’s one of those … 0