The heat of summer can make any body feel dry as dust. But wild animals, especially those species who can tolerate living near people, usually have an easier time finding some moisture when the mercury rises than when it falls.
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD The natural world outside my Midwestern door is preparing for a long winter nap. Cozy quilts made of homespun leaves keep tree feet from getting too cold. Seeds and insect eggs, the harvest of the previous growing season, have slipped into snug sweaters of soil or been tucked into bark bunk beds, […]
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Whenever I see a Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) at this time of year I’m reminded of my days as Executive Director of the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, back in the late 1990s. For a few weeks every winter, the Waxwings would appear by the cardboard box-full and the clinic would turn into… […]
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small bird who raises large families. Having a lot of children isn’t uncommon in the natural world but titmice parents are unusual in that they often follow the sitcom script for managing a Full House. On the other hand, given that this grayscale avian has been […]
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD You know how there’s always that last bit of liquid in the glass, just a few drops, that’s resistant to lift-off no matter how many times you re-position the straw or how much suction force you apply? Well, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) solved this physics problem over 10,000 years ago. Turns out, […]
A prominent German-American publisher in St. Louis at that time, sponsored the Transatlantic voyage of a dozen Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus, aka German sparrows) and representatives of 5 other species from his fatherland. Hoping to establish colonies in the Missouri Rhineland, shortly after their arrival the itinerant avians were released into the park.
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD “He sure does have a chip on his shoulder!” That statement is a metaphor… … except when it isn’t. Taken literally, this idiom for describing someone looking for a fight may also refer to the ornamental insignia on a military uniform, or the poppy red and sunflower yellow feathers of Red-winged Blackbirds […]
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Sometimes, what may appear as indolence, indecision, or timid reluctance is, in fact, a strategic decision to bide one’s time until the moment is right. Consider, if you will, the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). These stocky slate-and-chalk hued birds with stout, spiked bills like to chillax near a lake or river, looking […]
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Hey all you Blueberry Hill Jacks and Jills! Check out this crazy crooner and his backup chicks with their keyboard-themed threads and choreographed grooves! Good Golly, Miss Molly, this nifty summer act is a blast! Give the Black-and-White Warblers (Mniotilta varia) a spin and they’re certain to lock in a spot on […]
BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Shhhhh! Don’t make a sound or you’ll blow his cover. Just sit quietly and watch. Butorides virescens, aka the Green Heron, is a master of stealth and stillness. He* doesn’t work for the CIA or MI6; he’s a freelancer but not a mercenary. He’ll never be the hero of a John le […]