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Nature

Fall Is A Great Time To Plant A Tree

At this time of year, we both admire trees for the spectacularly colorful show they provide to our landscape and curse them for the constant supply of leaves they drop on our lawns. But trees add value to our lives, to our homes and to our waterways that we may not always appreciate. Fall ...

On A Journey

“Does anyone want to go outside to see a Black Saddlebag?” Statements of this kind are frequently heard around the offices at Audubon. We stop work at our desks, jump up with our cameras, and head outside. Being aware of what is going on outside is a major part of our jobs, so it is ...

Taking A Look At Hunting

On Sept. 5, 1975 CBS aired a documentary entitled The Guns of Autumn. It was a controversial anti-hunting program. A few weeks later CBS aired Echoes of the Guns of Autumn, a more even-handed follow-up to the subject. As autumn approaches 44 years later, let’s revisit the subject. Over the ...

Do Loud Insects Bug You?

“Zitch, Zitch, Zitch” The sound echoed through the darkness lurking outside of the window. “What is that?! I can’t sleep!!” My son came downstairs, grousing about the insect racket outside. My first thoughts were that this was the sound of a healthy, diverse habitat. It was ...

Walking Through The Door

“All children, as long as they still live in the mystery, are continuously occupied in their souls with the only thing that is important, which is themselves and their enigmatic relationship with the world around them. Seekers and wise people return to these preoccupations as they mature. ...

To Help Bees Through Lean Times, Plant A Range Of Blooms

The lack of four-season food sources is one of the leading causes of the world’s declining bee populations. At certain times of year, there simply isn’t enough nutrition in the natural environment to fill the collective demand. Rapidly increasing urbanization, fencepost-to-fencepost ...

Babysitting Turtles

Dear Audubon, Before beginning my internship at Audubon, my experience with nature was purely subjective. No doubt, I was appreciative of nature and extremely passionate about protecting the environment and all of the wildlife who call planet earth home; however, I could only imagine the broad ...

Many-Legged Creepy-Crawlies Are Usually Harmless

One of my first childhood memories is getting ready for a bath and finding a two-inch long “thousand-legger” in the tub. My reaction was to catch it and put it in a jar, but mom always grabbed some tissue paper, squished it, and flushed it down the toilet. If she had just scooped it out ...

Goldenrod Falsely Accused, Ragweed Is Culprit

Fields throughout the Chautauqua Watershed are ablaze. One of nature’s spectacles, the fall blossoming of goldenrod is underway and will continue until the first hard frost. Rest assured that if you have hay fever allergies, goldenrod is not the cause of your affliction. The culprit is ...

Fundamental Tasks

Pruning is one of the most fundamental tasks in gardening, and knowing when to trim is as essential as knowing how. Pruning woody plants at the wrong time can interrupt bloom cycles and damage stressed plants. “It’s time to prune whenever your pruners are sharp” is an old adage that ...

The Plastic Pollution Research Initiative

Plastics have been around in their current form for decades, and estimates suggest that more than 8 billion metric tons have been created since large-scale production of plastic started in the 1950s. The vast majority of plastic that has been created is still in existence today, resting in ...

Sounds Of Summer Nights

Now that summer is winding down and temperatures have begun to moderate, it’s a joy to sleep with a cool, gentle breeze wafting through open windows. The sounds of nature make a perfect lullaby. The voices of owls and frogs subside in September, allowing insect sounds to dominate summer ...

Monarchs Have Much To Teach

Nature and her creatures are suffering, and they’re calling for our help. The message of the monarchs, Danaus plexippus, a once widespread and iconic organism now threatened with extinction, is but one of many species in unprecedented decline, pleading for our attention and action. Monarchs ...

‘Ordinary, Mundane’

Of all the flora and fauna in the region, snails are not one I think about very often. On hikes, they fall into the “just” category. Oh, it’s just a snail. Oh, it’s just a crow. Oh, it’s just a dandelion. They are so easy to overlook because they appear commonplace. Ordinary. ...

A Peek Into Fall Bird Migration

As summer winds down, we expect cooler, drier air to make life a little more comfortable. But nature is far from predictable. Why hike a favorite trail or canoe a favorite lake if the results are always the same? When I’m outdoors, I hope to see things I’ve never seen before. There is, ...

Taking The Offensive On Erosion: Rain Plus Bare Ground Equals Mud

Mud is the largest non-point source pollution problem facing our lakes, rivers and streams. When soil gets washed into our waterways, it smothers fish habitats, transports dangerous pollutants that threaten water quality and provides the fertile conditions that favor excessive growth of ...

Reason, Season, Lifetime

There are always a few children who love Audubon so much that they can’t stay away. There is something about what happens at an Audubon camp that draws them, year after year. I understand. Camp is fun. Kids take nets and dip in ponds. They build forts. Games are played and adventures ...

Inordinate Fondness For Beetles

Since my wife brought home that spectacular eastern Hercules beetle I described a few weeks ago, I’ve embraced beetlemania. Given the sheer number of beetles that inhabit the planet, it’s understandable. Beetles, members of the insect Order Coleoptera, occupy virtually every habitat on ...

Kayaking The Conewango

The Conewango Creek has always intrigued me. Every time I travel on Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren, I think about the creek as it and the road meander along together. Where did that water come from and where is it going? From what I have read in the Roger Tory Peterson ...

Hummingbird Numbers Reach Peak In August

If you feed hummingbirds, you should be seeing lots of activity right now. Ruby-throated hummingbird numbers peak in August. Young of the year have left the nest (fledged) so late summer populations easily double. Whether you see two or three hummers visiting a single feeder or can brag ...