THEY’RE THE McMANSIONS of bird nests, though I suppose not necessarily as luxurious as that as just plain big—too big to fit into the first half of our recent Q&A story on the topic of nest-building. The nests of eagles, herons and other big birds require a space of their own, in nature and here on the website. Once again, Ellen Blackstone of the BirdNote public-radio program is our expert guide. [read more…]
More than 60 kinds of birds visit my rural garden in New York State, near the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and the garden was begun with them in mind: no chemicals, water year-round, lots of fruit- and seed-rich plantings, plenty of cover.
SOME SPECIES MIGRATE to warmer wintering grounds, and oh, how deftly they do fly—whether on their way south, or on the hunt for supper, or perhaps to meet up with that someone special, and mate in mid-air. But I’m not talking about some feathered creature with a mere single set of wings; I’m talking about dragonflies—as I did last week with a leading American expert on the subject, zoologist, author and photographer Dennis Paulson. Share in the four-winged wonder (and maybe win his Princeton Field Guide to these magical creatures for yourself). [read more…]
PERHAPS NO BIRDS are more familiar than crows and ravens—but which is which in these similar-looking members of the genus Corvus? And who’s smarter? Ellen Blackstone of the popular BirdNote public-radio show is our guide again as we look skyward in this latest installment in our collaborative series. And watch out, there’s a crow-or-raven quiz at the end of this one (which is why I’m not telling you who’s who in the photos along the way). [read more…]
I OFTEN SAY how the only thing I know with certainty about gardening, even after 30 years of experience, is this: Things will die. Just before my open garden day last week, a giant yellow magnolia called ‘Butterflies’ in the front yard decided quite unceremoniously that it was time to go. R.I.P., ‘Butterflies.’ But what felled you, I wonder? It was all so sudden–before I knew it, you were on the ground, and being carted away (above). [read more…]
WHAT NATIVE AMERICAN SHRUB smells like cloves right now, with a profusion of golden flowers, and handsome lobed foliage (which will turn nice warm colors in fall)? Another clue: It would have fruit, too, if you had both a male and a female plant. It’s the clove currant, which I know as Ribes odoratum, and woody plant expert Michael Dirr calls it “a rare gem in the shrub world.” [read more…]