The Outside Story

The Outside Story

By Brett Amy Thelan I once heard of a biologist with a clever party trick: regardless of where or when a given party was taking place, he claimed that he could produce a wild salamander in 15 minutes or less, and more often than not, he delivered. I suspect he never tried this at any… Read More »

American Goldfinch: Common bird with uncommon habits

American Goldfinch: Common bird with uncommon habits

  By Barbara Mackay I love the fact that there is always something new to observe in nature. Take goldfinches, for example. I have often watched them devour milkweed seeds from an acrobatic, upside-down position. Recently, I spotted several bright yellow males perched atop dandelion stems, plucking the seedheads at a frenzied pace. Previously, I… Read More »

Hatching a Monarch among us

Hatching a Monarch among us

By Elise Tillinghast Earlier this summer, my daughter persuaded me to bring home a monarch egg. I had misgivings. This wasn’t my first butterfly rodeo, and previous experience was discouraging. Two summers past, a friend gave us several black swallowtail caterpillars. One lived to adulthood, but all the siblings wasted away, taking on the form… Read More »

Caddisflies: Submerged silk spinners

Caddisflies: Submerged silk spinners

By Declan McCabe A small boy asked “what’s your favorite insect?” I answered without hesitation: caddisflies. Not the short-lived adults, which while charming in their own hairy moth-like way, do not capture my attention. My caddisfly predilection is reserved for the larval stages that last for most of the insect’s one or, less often, two-… Read More »

Summer house guests

Summer house guests

by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul Perhaps the phoebe selected her nesting spot during the few days my family was away from home at the end of April. Otherwise, I can’t quite figure her decision to build a nest atop the back porch light, right next to a doorway used regularly by three children and a rambunctious… Read More »

Starlings Aren’t Darling: The history of America’s least-loved bird

Starlings Aren’t Darling: The history of America’s least-loved bird

By Joe Rankin It’s a classic story of unintended consequences. In 1890, Eugene Schieffelin, a drug manufacturer and member of the New York Zoological Society, released 60 starlings in New York’s Central Park with the hope of establishing a breeding population. Worried that the experiment wasn’t successful, he released another 40 the next year. Schieffelin… Read More »