BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Happiness is a shy little bird. Hiding from sight in life’s nooks and crannies, impossible to find if you look but then it darts out and lands on your shoulder just when you least expect it. It sidles up beside you like a pickpocket on a crowded street, soft and silent as […]
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 Anywhere you hang your hat is home, or so the saying goes, but the same holds true even if your cap is actually a cluster of rose-colored feathers, or even a cloche of streaky tan and taupe. Perhaps we rarely see a House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) wearing a hat because, once they […]
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 […]