Stories

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Waiting With Beaver

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] Waiting with beaver is not exactly like leaving it to beaver, but pretty close.  From the human perspective the beaver is the most industrious of our mammalian relatives.  Beaver, we like to say, are nature’s little engineers.  We appreciate their knack for building things.  They are always busy, [...]

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Early Bird

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] It is the sixth of March, and the first Mountain Bluebird is back.  He is sitting forlornly  on a fence rail, it is snowing hard, and the temperature is close to minus five degrees Fahrenheit.  Maybe he is sitting there wondering just where it is he has gotten [...]

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Duck

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] In an earlier essay called Waiting With Beaver I said that beaver appear to be rather placid creatures.  If that is so, hummingbirds seem quite the opposite.  They seem absolutely frantic, and metabolically they are.  Hummingbirds have the highest metabolic rate of any animal, and their behavior shows [...]

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Attitude

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] [Audio clip: view full post to listen] Backyard bird feeders frequently draw critters other than the birds.  In my backyard, the birds vary from the smallest such as Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls, and Black-capped Chickadees to larger ones like blackbirds, grackles, and magpies.  A few minutes ago I [...]

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Cutest Bird

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] [Audio clip: view full post to listen]   There are bigger birds, and there are smaller birds.  There are flashier birds, and there are rare birds that kindle passionate enthusiasm in bird-watchers whenever they are seen.  No bird, however, has likely ever appeared in more photographs and paintings [...]

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Trouble in the Peaceable Kingdom

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] [Audio clip: view full post to listen] At the end of the first week in January the morning low was minus thirteen, and there was ten inches of new snow.  In the backyard a dozen or more chickadees and two small woodpeckers were chasing seeds around in the [...]

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The Queen Wore a Weasel

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] [Audio clip: view full post to listen] The weasel came back to visit today.  I returned late in the afternoon after a day in town, and as I was sorting out all the stuff that came home with me I happened to notice three rabbits sitting around the [...]

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Big Birds

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] One year it rained nearly an inch on the day of the vernal equinox, and winter was gone.  This year there was a foot of snow everywhere, and much more along the roads and creeks where strong winds had blown everything else that had fallen since the first [...]

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Little Birds

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]   Two things separate the Common Redpoll from the Sandhill Crane.  First, the redpoll is a bird of the north country where it breeds in subarctic forest and on the tundra.  When low food supplies in its native territory force it to look elsewhere for its sustenance it [...]

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Breakfast

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] It was a lovely early spring morning, and after the sun had been up for an hour or so I decided to walk to the top of the hill above the house to see what the populace might be up to.  A couple of bluebirds flitted from place [...]

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