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Pecking Order

Pecking Order

It was just the other day when I was having my morning coffee that I noticed something unusual on my back deck. In the back yard we have a number of bird feeders scattered about, as I imagine most of us do. But, I like to get a closer look at the birds, so I scatter some seed on the deck’s railing. Birds, like juncos, nuthatches, chickadees, and most recently, goldfinches come to gather up the seed. Its enjoyable and…

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Feeding Birds

Feeding Birds

It’s OK to feed wild birds – here are some tips for doing it the right way Julian Avery, Pennsylvania State University Millions of Americans enjoy feeding and watching backyard birds. Many people make a point of putting food out in winter, when birds needs extra energy, and spring, when many species build nests and raise young. As a wildlife ecologist and a birder, I know it’s important to understand how humans influence bird populations, whether feeding poses risks to…

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Identifying Trilliums

Identifying Trilliums

I took a walk yesterday in the Ed Piela Wildflower Garden in Stanley Park, Westfield.  The flowers are coming up both native and exotic.  My companions were interested in the different varieties of trilliums you see along the trail. First, we came to the Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) with its bold white flower and bright yellow center.  Many of these are in bloom her right now.  You might expect such a dramatic blossom would be hard to misidentify, but there is…

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The Greening of My Hills

The Greening of My Hills

I can distinguish no less than eleven shades of green in the hillside I see before me.  I name them: lime green, forest green, emerald green, olive green, sea green, shamrock, neon, yellow-green, pale green, blue-green and grass-green. This patchwork of hues brings a smile to my face this time every year here in the hilltown where I live.   Fresh, light-colored twinkly catkins stand out against the dark-colored pine needles that have weathered the winter.  Even a single rhododendron…

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Who put Pepper in my Footprint?

Who put Pepper in my Footprint?

Who put Pepper in my Footprint? View Video With about twelve inches of snow on the ground my husband and I decided to hike up Mt. Tekoa.  We took turns breaking trail as it was exhausting going.  If we didn’t make it to the top we agreed that was okay, but we’d trudge along as far as we could.  When we hit the ridge, snowmobilers had packed the snow and it was much easier going, so we made it to…

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Red Shoulder Hawks

Red Shoulder Hawks

Last summer I had a pair of red-shouldered hawks in the woods out back.  Every morning they would come up from the creek and circle with their repetitive cry. They are back this year, calling to each other.  I have been practicing with my long lens and caught these pictures on February 24.  I could hear them during the blizzard on March 14 and am wondering how they fared.  

It’s Raining Bacteria

It’s Raining Bacteria

I came out of work on Friday to a fresh layer of snow.  The storm had just passed and the sky was beautiful.  The sun was low so cast a beautiful glow onto those mid-winter storms against a deep blue sky.  I jumped into my car just as Science Friday was starting on NPR. Did you know that those clouds are full of bacteria?  What are they doing up there and should we be concerned?  You can learn more at…

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A Birch Falls in the Forest

A Birch Falls in the Forest

  Saturday night the cold front came through Western Mass.  With it came some pretty strong winds and one tornado.  The earliest tornado to hit Massachusetts ever.  It slammed through Conway so we gave Tom Ricardi a call.  No damage to his property or the birds although he lost power for most of the week. I was away that night, so when I returned on Sunday I was surprised to see a tree down in my backyard.  A big white…

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Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary Winter Lectures

Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary Winter Lectures

Winter lectures at the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary are offered free of charge on Saturdays at 1:30 pm.  Space is limited; call 413-267-9654 or email lectures@norcrosswildlife.org<mailto:lectures@norcrosswildlife.org>  to register. In case of inclement weather please call ahead, check our Facebook page or visit www.norcrosswildlife.org<http://www.norcrosswildlife.org>. Saturday, March 4th Gypsy Moth and Winter Moth Do you remember last summer? Joe Elkinton has been a professor of entomology in the Dept. of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst since 1980. His lab conducts research on population…

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