The Outside Story

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…

Winter bird rehabilitation faces extra challenges
Column
March 1, 2017

Winter bird rehabilitation faces extra challenges

By Leah Burdick

An injured barred owl sat in the back seat of a four-door sedan, staring balefully out the window at its rescuer. “I saw him on the side of the road, just sitting there, trying to fly,” the young woman explained to Maria…

Snow buntings: nomads from the north
Column
February 22, 2017

Snow buntings: nomads from the north

By Susan Shea

Driving to town on a winter day, I occasionally see flocks of white birds where the wind sweeps across fields, blowing snow across the road and exposing the grass. Rising and falling, the birds look like giant snowflakes tossed about by a…

The curious case of the “cute face” crane fly
Column
February 15, 2017

The curious case of the “cute face” crane fly

By Declan McCabe

An email chirped in my inbox, “Check out the cute face on this insect we found.” I opened the attachment (yes, from a reliable source). My colleague Professor Peter Hope had taken a spectacular photograph through his microscope. The larva in question…

All about antlers
Column
February 8, 2017

All about antlers

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

A few autumns ago, one of the frequent visitors to our gone-wild apple orchard was a lopsided, one-point buck. We often see does and young, antlerless deer in the field, and by the end of each fall we’re able to identify…

Bark in winter
Column
February 3, 2017

Bark in winter

By Joe Rankin

It’s winter. Hardwood trees are bare. But that doesn’t mean the woods are bereft of interest. Winter, when sunlight slants in, is the time when bark comes into its own. Pause to take in the aged-brass bark of a yellow birch, or…

Mink in the middle
Column
January 25, 2017

Mink in the middle

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

If the river otter is the most aquatic member of the mustelid family and weasels represent the terrestrial branch of the clan, the American mink is the adept middle child, taking advantage of its adaptations both in the water and on…