The Outside Story

On mammal teeth
Column
May 24, 2017

On mammal teeth

By Tim Traver

When my daughter was 4, she once asked, “Do mice get cavities?” We were coming back from the dentist, so teeth were on her mind and so were mice, since her pet mouse had recently escaped. Later in the day, she asked…

The great duckweed migration
Column
May 19, 2017

The great duckweed migration

By Declan McCabe

The word “migration” conjures images of vast wildebeest or pronghorn herds crossing plains in unison, or hummingbirds traversing the Gulf of Mexico. When charismatic birds leave our New England forests, migration is typically the explanation. But how can a group of plants…

A precious stone with wings
Column
May 11, 2017

A precious stone with wings

By Carolyn Lorié

One day last spring, I pulled into a parking lot in Thetford and saw a flash of brilliant red. Instantly, I knew it was a male scarlet tanager. He was perched in a cluster of bushes and everything around him — the…

Wild leeks
Column
May 3, 2017

Wild leeks

By Virginia Barlow

The white bulbs of wild leeks, also called ramps (especially in the South), can be eaten year round, but it’s the early leaves that are most appreciated. In pre-freezer days, ramps were the first greens available after five or so months of…

Drumroll, please
Column
April 19, 2017

Drumroll, please

By Bryan Pfeiffer

Trees speak many languages, their leaves whooshing in summer and trunks creaking in winter. At the onset of spring, trees become sounding boards for courtship. Before the thrushes and warblers and sparrows arrive to sing from branches and boughs, woodpeckers kick off…

Return of the missing lynx
Column
April 12, 2017

Return of the missing lynx

By Susan Shea

In the northern forest of New England, a big gray cat crouches silently in a dense thicket of fir along a snowshoe hare run. Its pointed ears, topped with long tufts of black hair, twitch as it listens intently. The cat’s face…

Woodcock habitat: a combo of open and hidden spaces
Column
April 5, 2017

Woodcock habitat: a combo of open and hidden spaces

By Elise Tillinghast

Every year around this time, my husband, kids and I haul out the tent blind from our garage and set it up in the field in front of our house. We toss in a few folding chairs, a thermos, maybe a neighbor….

Time travel in a peat bog
Column
March 29, 2017

Time travel in a peat bog

By Declan McCabe

Gutter pipes full of soggy peat show up on the bench by my office each March. This means one thing: my colleague Peter Hope’s Saint Michael’s College students are about to experience time travel. You might reasonably ask how pipes filled with…

“Beaver duck”: the adaptable hooded merganser
Column
March 22, 2017

“Beaver duck”: the adaptable hooded merganser

By Michael J. Caduto

Imagine ten nearly round white eggs snug in a hollow tree, lined with soft feathers plucked from the mother’s breast. The hen carefully tends the 2-inch eggs for about a month until the chicks hatch. Prompted by their mother’s call, downy…