It's snowing, again. I love snow! Even though winter officially started December 21st, and spring arrives March 21st, here in Idaho's mountains winter doesn't gain full steam until January. New snow intermittently drifts down from the sky through March and into April. Locals joke that it always snows on Memorial Day (late May), and it… Continue reading Half-way Through Winter
Blood. Guts. Bones. The past few days have delivered some up-close and raw aspects of nature. If you're made queasy by the sight of blood, large animal bones or small animal organs, you may want to skip this post. Nothing horrific, but nature isn't always wildflowers and butterflies. Sometimes, nature gets real. I've been writing… Continue reading Nature, Uncensored
I confess, I'm easily entertained. Especially by dogs and their close relatives: wolves, coyotes and foxes. They fascinate me. I recently wrote about a fox who visits regularly, hunting for voles in my field, irritating Conall. I also wrote about the budding symbiotic relationship between a local raven pair and Conall's voles, left in the… Continue reading Wild Conversations
Conall’s Food Bank for Ravens
If you pay attention, the natural world offers endless entertainment. This winter there's almost daily life-and-death drama unfolding right in my yard. Nature's circle of life, on a small scale. In late December I wrote about two ravens who had discovered my dogs' discarded marrow bones. I toss them over the yard fence into the… Continue reading Conall’s Food Bank for Ravens
Who Stole My Treasure?
Starting with his earliest forays into the forest near home as a puppy, Conall has had the ability to follow his nose to animal bones left on the ground. Some bones appear in the normal course of life, after animals die from natural causes or as a predator's meal. Other bones appear after hunters kill… Continue reading Who Stole My Treasure?
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
Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Great Horned Owl
Great horned owls are making a comeback in my neighborhood. At least, I hope they are. I wrote last summer about my dog Conall briefly catching an owlet in his mouth in July of 2016 (it survived). I also described two encounters, several years ago, with great horned owls in the forest. I used to… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Great Horned Owl
Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Deer
White-tailed deer are a regular feature in my world. Living very close to a national forest boundary, they often cross my lot in small groups as they move from one section of forest to another. Spring and autumn are their busy times, but they're around all summer. If my dogs notice them, they'll woof at… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Deer
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
Bird Updates: Sandhill Cranes and Tree Swallows
Some of the local birds have been busy lately, fascinating to watch. Some updates to previous posts. Cranes The boys monitoring the ditch on the west side of the road. Earlier this month while walking my dogs on our usual valley road, I heard sandhill cranes making more than their usual ruckus. (I wrote about… Continue reading Bird Updates: Sandhill Cranes and Tree Swallows