Naturalism: The Birds Have Left

The bird has flown its nest and it is free to fly the skies of the world. The birds are gone. Well, most of the songbirds, anyway. I’m surprised how sad this makes me. This is the first summer I’ve taken an interest in any migratory birds other than the tree swallows who nest in… Continue reading Naturalism: The Birds Have Left

Altruism

Animal sentience is generally defined as the ability to feel, perceive, be conscious, or to experience subjectivity. The word “sentience” comes from the Latin verb sentire, which means “to feel.” The RSPCA Australia (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Knowledge Base website has a good definition that’s easily understood: Animal sentience is… Continue reading Altruism

Herding Ravens

Virtually all of the seasonal birds - the song birds - have departed for destinations south for the remainder of the year. I've been feeling their absence more intensely than I ever anticipated. More on that in an upcoming post. The remaining birds are those who fly these skies year round: mostly red-tailed hawks, magpies,… Continue reading Herding Ravens

Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: House Wrens

I had no idea what a house wren was until Conall caught a baby wren in the yard two years ago, spitting it out unharmed. That's when I noticed an upset adult wren on the other side of the fence, in the wildflower garden. Wrens were using a small hole in the siding of my… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: House Wrens

Tree Swallows: Nature’s Fighter Pilots

I’m not a “birder.” Haven’t been in the past, am not now, and…well, maybe at some point in the future I will be. I do like birds, but I’m not patient enough to be a birder. A birder is, by definition, a bird watcher. Someone dedicated to bird watching. I’m an observer. Amused by birds,… Continue reading Tree Swallows: Nature’s Fighter Pilots

Red-winged Blackbirds – “Nature’s Assholes”

Red-winged blackbirds aren’t very big. They’re smaller than robins, about 8” head to tail. But they’re easily spotted, at least the males: jet black feathers with bright red and yellow shoulders that are even more visible when they’re flying. Here in the central mountains of Idaho, they’re one of the first migrating song birds to… Continue reading Red-winged Blackbirds – “Nature’s Assholes”

Snipe Hunt

I remember going on a snipe hunt as a kid. I was maybe seven years old. My father had fun with that, convincing me a snipe was a cute furry creature like a hamster that I could take home as a pet if I caught one in the burlap bag he handed me. He showed… Continue reading Snipe Hunt

As the World Wobbles and Spins on its Axis

As children we’re taught that our planet spins on an axis as it orbits the sun. That’s why we have seasons; winter when the place you live tilts more away from the sun, summer when it tilts more toward the sun. But the earth also wobbles. I didn’t know that. Mostly the wobbles are caused… Continue reading As the World Wobbles and Spins on its Axis

An Accidental Birder

Idaho’s mountains host so many birds. Coming from western Washington, I had to buy a book, Birds of Idaho, to help me try to identify those that live here year-round and those that migrate through each spring and fall. I’m still learning. I never considered myself a birder – it seemed such a stodgy hobby… Continue reading An Accidental Birder

Bird Encounters, Part II – July 3-4, 2018

I’m in the yard with the dogs, moving a sprinkler and shoveling dog shit over the fence into the field, typical evening chores. Suddenly both boys rush toward the fence at the edge of the yard near the front door, noses to the ground, pouncing. Conall pulls back with that look on his face I’ve… Continue reading Bird Encounters, Part II – July 3-4, 2018