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Nature

Afternoon Autumn Air

A note… …to the air of Oct. 12 in the mid-afternoon. You are here. Finally. I forget that I miss you, that you fill me with gratitude. Carrying the scent of fading leaves, low sunshine, and the inaugural biting night of autumn, you wrap the season I’ve been waiting for into one ...

Walking Browns Creek Tributary Forest Preserve

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of co-leading a leisurely fall foliage walk at the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s beautiful Browns Creek Tributary Forest Preserve, located at 5014 Walker Road near Bemus Point. My dear friend and co-leader was land donor, retired biology ...

The Biological Basis For Deer Hunting

According to statistics from the Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters purchased 11.5 million hunting licenses in 2016. Of those, about 80 percent (approximately 9,000,000) were for big game species, mostly deer. As a result, hunters spent more than $25 billion to finance their ...

Apple Everything

‘Tis the season for scenic drives and rambling hikes. For pumpkin spice and apple flavored everything. For harvesting the fruits of the growing season. But, in this region dominated by eastern deciduous forests, nothing represents fall more so then the trees. The spectacular color ...

Some Experiences Will Never Get Old

As far as I’m concerned, kayaking the Chadakoin River never gets old. Whenever I take a journey down the outlet of Chautauqua Lake, the river is different, and I never know what or who I will see on my adventure. Somehow, this summer got away from me, but I finally got to paddle the ...

Matching Bird Food To Feeders

If fall temperatures arrive this weekend as predicted, it will feel like it’s time to fill the backyard bird feeders. Colder morning temperatures send hungry birds to well stocked feeders. Here are some tips to help make any backyard feeding station a success. Whether you’re new to ...

Odd Little Insects

My children and their friends spotted some strange insects at Audubon the other day. They were dark steely blue, shining in the grass. Their bulbous round abdomens looked awkward compared to their skinny heads and thoraxes. These beetles crawled in an ungainly fashion through the grass, ...

Feeding Birds, The Apartment Style Treats

Over the last 30 years I’ve written dozens of columns about feeding backyard birds. Based on my experiences, I’ve recommended specific foods (black-oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, and mealworms) and specific feeders (tubes, hanging bowls, and suet baskets). My mission has always been to ...

Who Inspired You?

Audubon did an exhibit in 2006 titled “Hooked on Nature.” One of the features was a corner in which the naturalists identified a person who inspired them to become a naturalist. I chose my dad. The text I wrote then reads as follows: This photo is one of my favorites. I don’t ...

Lake Changes Affect Fishing

I have fished on Chautauqua Lake each summer since I was five, but as I fished the lake in late summer of this year, I felt as though I no longer knew the lake. The lake has changed so much that it felt as if I were fishing on an entirely different lake. In the late 1970s, I caught quite a ...

Swarms Of Dragonflies

One of the benefits of writing this column is that readers let me know when they observe unusual, unpredictable natural phenomena. For instance, when a brood of 17-year periodic cicadas emerges, I hear about it on day one. About two weeks ago readers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia ...

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 ...