Nature

Fall Hope

November comes around each year with its early nights, brown landscape, and cloudy skies. Bleak is the word that comes to mind as I write this on day where there is a skim of ice on the pond, fog obscuring the distant tree line and pockets of leftover snow among the weeds. After the October ...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. It’s a time to gather with family and friends, have a nice meal, and catch up on family news. No gift-giving stress, and except for preparing the food, it’s a few hours to unwind, watch a football game, and enjoy some birds on the feeders. I ...

Chestnuts are a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving meal and a reminder of our natural heritage.

Giving Thanks Throughout Changing Times

With the Thanksgiving holidays coming up, I am reminded of the many riches this country offers, and how truly thankful I am to experience the bounty offered to me during my lifetime. But how different that first Thanksgiving Dinner on this continent must have been! The holiday originated from ...

Rusty Blackbirds are disappearing and scientists do not know why.
Photos by Jeff Tome

The Big Picture

There was a flock of birds at Audubon last week whose population has dropped by 85 to 99 percent in the last 40 years. That’s a huge number. For every 100 birds around when I was born, only one exists today. No one even knows what has caused the decline and, truthfully, no one has really ...

Holiday Reads

It’s time for my annual list of books that I recommend as great holiday gifts for outdoor lovers. Imagine the Great Lakes: five huge self-contained bodies of water that hold 20 percent of the planet’s liquid freshwater (much is also tied up in glaciers, icebergs, snow, and ice). From the ...

These familiar bulbs that form on goldenrod stems are caused by a developing fly larva. 
CWC photo

The Gall Of Some Insects!

Have you ever noticed the bulbs that form on the stems of goldenrod? Believe it or not, those bulbs house the larvae of an insect called the goldenrod gall fly. This fly is completely dependent on the goldenrod and cannot complete its lifecycle without the plant. In the spring, the adult ...

Watching a salamander.

Salamanders

Imagine a small, slimy creature. They are ubiquitous in the good forests, the ones with leaf litter, plenty of debris, and good soil quality. Not too wet, but dampness is essential. They are carnivores, eating myriad tiny invertebrates but known to eat the eggs and young of its own kind. ...

Winter Roosting Boxes

As colder weather approaches, I often get questions about winter roosting boxes. Many cavity-nesting birds roost (that is, sleep) in natural cavities, nest boxes or specially designed roosting boxes. It sure beats sleeping out in the open on cold winter nights. Bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, ...

One of nature’s most beautiful sights — a full moon. 
Photo by D. Arlene Bonnett

Shine On, Harvest Moon!

One balmy evening this fall, my friends and I were sitting outside enjoying a bonfire, when the Harvest Moon became the topic of conversation. Everyone has heard about Harvest Moons, but no one had an answer when I asked, “What exactly is a Harvest Moon? Is it larger or brighter than a normal ...

Leaves already fallen. 
Photos by Katie Finch

A Late Fall Hike

Editor’s note: This article was originally published November 2016. I’ve been in the office quite a bit lately, so when I had a long break on one of the recent mild fall days I took the opportunity to take a hike. Since I was close to it, I headed to the Westside Overland Trail that ...

Picture 18

The November Skies

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom” ~Isaac Asimov The planet Mercury can be spotted with binoculars close to the southwestern horizon soon after sunset during the last half of November. A small telescope will ...

Back To Cape May

Clear skies and 80 degrees welcomed Linda and me when we arrived in Cape May, N.J., on Oct. 14, and spectacular weather continued for nine days. High temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s and bluebird skies exceeded all our hopes and expectations. We could not have ordered better ...

Chautauqua Lake, identified as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, is a refuge for tundra swans on their migration route. 
Photo by Jeff Tome

Our Fowl Fall Lake

All professionals love their pet acronyms. The world is full of IEPs, IEDs, IBMs and more (Individualized Education Plan, Improvised Explosive Device, and International Business Machines). Birders have IBAs. I love to think of all the things those letters could stand for. Improvised Birding ...

Chipmunks also carry leaves into their underground tunnels to use as nesting material. 
Photo by Terry Lorenc

Chipmunks

These unusually warm fall days are wonderful for outdoor rambles. Nothing seems to be in a hurry, not even summer. It still seems to have a hold on October. These beautiful days can almost convince us that winter’s white cold is ages away and we have all the time in the world to prepare. It ...

Bumblebees Make The World Go Buzz

Shorter days, cooler temperatures and bright fall colors signal the transition from summer to autumn. Other signs include rusty and black banded woolly bears crossing country roads, yellow-and-black garden spiders roosting inside aging Queen Anne’s lace flower heads, and seas of brilliant ...

The presence of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect, can be identified by its egg sacs, which resemble tiny white tufts of cotton attached to the underside of hemlock branches. 
Photo by the Connecticut Agricultural 
Experiment Station Archive via wikimedia.org

Our Hemlocks Are In Trouble!

Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) have been a staple of our forests in western New York for longer than humankind has been living here. As a long-lived tree species, they don’t reach maturity until at least 250 years of age and can live for over 800 years. They can grow well over 150 feet ...

Spring peeper.

Autumnal Recrudescence

Bluebirds murmur as they investigate the nest box, their solemn songs melodic in the morning fog. A White-throated Sparrow joins in from the edge of the pasture, clear and crystal. Faintly a Ruffed Grouse drums, and the peepers call with gusto from the pond. Dandelions appear scattered on the ...

It’s Time To Watch Feeders

I’m often asked, “Is feeding birds is really necessary?” The simple answer is no. We feed birds because we enjoy seeing them in our backyards. But while we’re at it, why not make our efforts a bit more worthwhile by participating in Project FeederWatch, Cornell University’s citizen ...

The wildflowers of autumn cheerfully bid our presence among them while warm fall days remain. Whatever their species, and wherever they bloom, autumn’s backyard beauties bring bittersweet reminders of seasons swiftly passing, gently nudging us to embrace the gifts and blessings of now.

Season Of Beauty

As October days grow cool and crisp, the soft green lushness of summer’s splendor gives way to autumn’s golden fields, crimson leaves and fleeting floral tapestry. Flamboyantly splashed along sunny roadsides, stream banks, wetlands and woodlands, living bouquets of fragrance, form and hue ...

Seeing a Timber Rattlesnake is an experience that is like no other, but many people go a lifetime without seeing one. 
Photo by Don Watts

Seeking New Experiences

Rarely does a photo on Facebook make me jealous, but one of my friends put one up last summer that made me drool with envy. She was in a creek with a bunch of other people lifting a giant rock to find one of the most elusive salamanders in the area, the hellbender. This giant salamander ...