The Importance of Being a Responsible Nest Box Host

The Importance of Being a Responsible Nest Box Host

The harsh reality is that house sparrows often kill adult bluebirds and their nestlings in the box, and build their messy nests on top of the carnage below.House sparrows are a non-native species that often kill native bluebirds when they take over a nest box.

Why Do Flickers Knock on Your House?

Why Do Flickers Knock on Your House?

“If I were a flicker, I would look at houses as big trees,” says Chris Anderson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.With all their knocking and rolling, flickers are an entertaining bird worth watching, but not worth losing your house for.

Should You Provide Birds Water in Winter?

Should You Provide Birds Water in Winter?

© Sjensen~ / Flickr Throughout the summer months, we supply birds with water, which they use for drinking, bathing, or simply cooling off.Going back to heated birdbaths, if managed properly, we can use these to allow birds to drink from it, and not bathe.

How Hyenas Sanitize The City

How Hyenas Sanitize The City

“People use town during the day but at night, hyenas come from natural areas around town into the city to feed on carcass waste left out by people,” Sonawane says.

Why Are You Seeing Lots of Vultures Now?

Why Are You Seeing Lots of Vultures Now?

What I noticed were turkey vultures – one of three vulture species in the U.S. and one of only seven in the western hemisphere – making their way from breeding grounds near the Canadian border to their wintering area as far south as Central or South America.

10 Writing Awards for Cool Green Science

10 Writing Awards for Cool Green Science

We hope that you enjoy this selection of the winning entries, with stories on everything from cassowary excrement to native trout conservation, from mothing as a hobby to essays on our childhood love of campground critters and The Crocodile Hunter.

How the Fallow Deer Took the World

How the Fallow Deer Took the World

In fact, some experts believe the only current native, wild population of fallow deer is now found in an isolated herd in Turkey.Today, the fallow deer is the national animal of Barbuda and Antigua, and deer hunting remains an important cultural activity on the island.

Crawling with Crickets: The Insect Swarm of the Western US

Crawling with Crickets: The Insect Swarm of the Western US

Mormon cricket outbreaks are more frequent than the 17-year cycle of the cicadas, and when they boom, the populations are impossible to miss.Certified Wildlife Biologist Jarren Kuipers of Land Steward Services notes that Mormon cricket outbreaks are more localized than the emergence of cicadas.

The Butterfly of Spring: Meet the Mourning Cloak

The Butterfly of Spring: Meet the Mourning Cloak

In some places you can find mourning cloak butterflies throughout the year, but after a long winter, the first sighting of one can be the earliest sign of spring.“You don’t usually have a butterfly that can live for almost an entire year as an adult,” says Blobaum.

Take Down Your Feeders: Salmonella is Killing Songbirds

Take Down Your Feeders: Salmonella is Killing Songbirds

Salmonella is a fatal bacterial infection for birds and it’s hitting siskins hard because they congregate around feeders, but the outbreak isn’t species-specific.Other states are seeing an uptick this spring as the bacteria continues to spread, which is why more state agencies are asking people to remove their bird feeders.

50 Birds: Adventures in Backyard Birding

50 Birds: Adventures in Backyard Birding

The Intermountain Bird Observatory was keeping tabs on them, and was receiving reports of up to 60 spending the winter here each year.And there’s perhaps no better way to discover those birds than by keeping a yard list.

Carolina Wrens Will Nest in Just About Anything

Carolina Wrens Will Nest in Just About Anything

Sometimes, we might even wonder if our efforts to provide nest boxes and brush piles somehow fail to meet the Carolina wren’s creative standards.Along with nest boxes, wrens seem to favor what brush piles have to offer.

Even for Solitary Squirrels, It’s Better to Know the Neighbors

Even for Solitary Squirrels, It’s Better to Know the Neighbors

© Vilseskogen / Flickr Siracusa, then a graduate student at the University of Guelph in southern Ontario, already knew from her previous work that red squirrels with familiar neighbors spent less time angrily defending their middens.

Mistletoe: A Natural and Human History

Mistletoe: A Natural and Human History

© Jan Helebrant / Flickr Though mistletoe might sound like an undesirable plant because it kills trees, some species are important keystone species in their habitats.

Meet the Dipper, the Songbird That Swims

Meet the Dipper, the Songbird That Swims

Lospalluto / Flickr I’m snowshoeing through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains when I see a small, nondescript bird at the far edge of the creek.American dippers are small and chunky — about the side of a robin — with grey-blue plumage, a brownish head, pink legs, a short tail, and a white eyelid.

Google Photos Storage Is Changing. Here Are Your Best Options

Google Photos Storage Is Changing. Here Are Your Best Options

Google Photos has long offered one of the best deals in cloud storage, allowing you to upload unlimited photos for free—as long as you were willing to sacrifice a little image quality.Like Google, iCloud encompasses all your shared cloud storage for Apple services—including photos.

How Cowbirds Raise Their Young, Without Raising Their Young

How Cowbirds Raise Their Young, Without Raising Their Young

The act of brood parasitism allows females to forgo the costs of nest building, incubating eggs, and feeding and protecting vulnerable young.

Black Witch Moths: A Night-Time Trick or Treat

Black Witch Moths: A Night-Time Trick or Treat

© Katja Schulz / Flickr This witch doesn’t fly around on a broomstick, yet an unexpected sighting of a 7-inch black moth in October is likely to catch your attention.With their bat-like flight, black witch moths may bring with them treats of fortune or bad omens.

A Field Guide to Finding Cool Moths

A Field Guide to Finding Cool Moths

According to Brenner, in her first summer enjoying moths she “photographed a moth that was emerald green, another that was pink, one that was half yellow and half black, and one that was as white as fresh snow.” In just a few months she captured images of a couple hundred moth species and “was completely hooked and happily identified myself as a new ‘moth-er.’”.

Campground Critters: A Natural and Personal History

Campground Critters: A Natural and Personal History

Before every scout camp, the older kids would serve up questionable nature facts meant to show their expertise and perhaps instill a bit of fear.I could only roll my eyes when, prepping for a group stay at a cabin, I heard stories regarding porcupines that visited outhouses at night.

The Crocodile Hunter Was My Childhood Hero

The Crocodile Hunter Was My Childhood Hero

And I had Steve Irwin, who loved wildlife with an unabashed enthusiasm that a paralytically self-conscious tween girl could never muster.Irwin taught millions of children like me that wildlife — even the ugly, slimy, and scaly — should be loved.

Meet the Mountain Chickadee

Meet the Mountain Chickadee

“To claim dominance, a mountain chickadee darts or hisses at the other bird, or it’s revealed by those who hang back around a feeder,” says McCallum.

Death and Drama Among the Cicada Killers

Death and Drama Among the Cicada Killers

Holliday, professor emeritus at Pennsylvania’s Lafayette College, who partners with Coelho on cicada killer research, adds, “I’ve only seen female velvet ants digging in known cicada killer nesting areas, so I don’t know what they do when they go down open burrows or dig down into closed ones.”.

The Coolest Kingfishers from Six Continents

The Coolest Kingfishers from Six Continents

Photo © Jeff Bryant / Flickr Green kingfisher is more abundant in Central and South America, but the species can be located in the southwestern reaches of the United States from Arizona to Texas.

Meet the Frogmouth, Australia’s Weirdest Bird

Meet the Frogmouth, Australia’s Weirdest Bird

Photo © Wade Tregaskis / Flickr Each morning, before I put the kettle on or open the news to see what fresh hell awaits our pandemic-blighted world, I check on the frogmouths.

Cool Facts About Common Backyard Wildlife

Cool Facts About Common Backyard Wildlife

At your backyard feeder, you’re likely seeing more hawks and fewer house sparrows, plus a few new bird species.A Pack of One. Fact: You may be hearing more urban coyotes, but it’s likely not as many as you think.

Enjoy the Red-Winged Blackbird Show

Enjoy the Red-Winged Blackbird Show

Back at its display ground, a red-winged blackbird will fend off rivals of its own species at its territory, but like many birds, will also drive away just about anything that gets near.

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Turkeys

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Turkeys

Photo © Jim / Flickr We all know that chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, and the like are all domesticated animals, descended from wild relatives yet altered significantly by deliberate human intervention.

Hellbenders Need You to Stop Messing With Their Bedrooms

Hellbenders Need You to Stop Messing With Their Bedrooms

Like many misunderstood and undervalued creatures in the country’s wilds, the hellbender faces innumerable threats from poisoned water to climate change.Photo © Seánín Óg / Flickr As young, small hellbenders, they live under smaller rocks with gravel allowing an increase in oxygen flow.

The Real Reason You See Earthworms After Rain

The Real Reason You See Earthworms After Rain

It is probably one of the first “nature lessons” we learned at school: earthworms have to come to the surface after rain because they’re drowning. Another common explanation for worm emergence is that rain sounds like predators, so the worms come to the surface to escape.