The Outside Story

How do birds know when to migrate?
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October 12, 2016

How do birds know when to migrate?

By Carolyn Lorié On the north end of my home is a nest site favored by eastern phoebes. Every year a pair shows up, sets up house, and raises a family. They arrive early in the spring, and I spend the long days of spring and…

Vermont: running dry?
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October 5, 2016

Vermont: running dry?

By Madeline Bodin Scenes from the West’s five-year drought are striking – the cracked mud at the bottom of a dry reservoir, forests in flames. Wonder what a drought would look like in Vermont and New Hampshire? Look out the window. This is the first…

Fall Peepers
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September 28, 2016

Fall Peepers

By Michael J. Caduto We like to think that everything in nature has its own particular time and place. But nature is fond of throwing us curves. As a naturalist, a common question I’m asked during foliage season is, “Why are spring peepers calling in…

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September 21, 2016

An abundance of caution: wild food and risk

By Benjamin Lord “I’ve got a botanical question for you,” my friend said as he came into my classroom the other day. “Is black nightshade edible?” He’d found some growing near his chicken coop. “I took the tiniest bite,” he said. “I’m not sure if…

Tobacco Hornworms: big, green, and in the garden
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September 14, 2016

Tobacco Hornworms: big, green, and in the garden

By Todd McLeish The big, meaty green caterpillars that many of us have been fighting to eradicate from our gardens this summer make plenty of people squirm. In part it’s because they are among the largest caterpillars in the region, sometimes reaching close to three…

Cloudy with a chance of flies: non-biting midges
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September 7, 2016

Cloudy with a chance of flies: non-biting midges

By Declan McCabe Clouds of tiny insects, rising and falling hypnotically along lake shores, contribute to the ambiance of warm summer evenings. My recent bike ride was interrupted by a lungful of this ambiance. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, you might wonder…

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August 31, 2016

The dirt on roots

By Joe Rankin You can pretty much count on a tree to stay in one place, at least in the real world. Not so in fiction. Remember the walking, talking Ents in the Lord of the Rings movies? Or Groot, the tree-like alien in the…

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August 24, 2016

Singing a different tune

By Laurie Morrissey Birdsong has always fascinated humans. Besides waking some of us up a wee bit too early in the morning, it has inspired musical compositions and immortal poetry. It has produced lush descriptions, like those of the early 1900s field guide author F….

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August 18, 2016

Squirrel is my co-pilot

By Elise Tillinghast The first red squirrel appeared at about 50 m.p.h. It climbed up over my headrest and landed in my lap. I don’t recall the next few seconds very clearly, but according to my 5-year-old daughter Lucy, I yelled something along the lines…

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August 10, 2016

Good news for wild bees?

By Joe Rankin The honey bee is an introduced species in North America. It’s only been here about 400 years, brought by English colonists who found none after stumbling ashore and then promptly put in an order with their backers back home. The honeybee, more…