By all accounts, winter has finally descended upon us. But as of the date for this column, there are only 39 days until crocuses begin blooming. It’s one of the oddest winters I can remember, one with very few winter birds, only a handful of waterfowl, and, as of yet, no ice skating. One wonders if such a winter will be good for all of those...
I started this environmental and natural history column in 1981, and except for about four years in the latter part of the 1980s it has been going ever since. I hope to keep it going on into the 2020s. We will see. Nature and the environment are in a lot of trouble and need all of the help they can get. Who wants to live on Mars?
A recent study published in The New York Times observed that the female and male humans’ brains were identical in anatomy, yet males and females are so different behaviorally and physiologically in so many ways. How is it possible the brains are the same?
As many of you readers have observed (or heard falling in the night), there was a tremendous crop of acorns this year, notwithstanding the dryish summer. More acorns should produce more squirrels, which are famous feeders on acorns during the winter months, having squirreled hundreds away during the fall.
The winter birds are here until March and April. It’s time to stock the feeders for the long winter haul. Most of us who feed the birds will be carefully watching, identifying, and counting, and so will a bird or two whose powers of observation far outstrip our own — those pesky hawks with the sharp beaks and vice-grip talons.
The black and scarlet oaks with their lobed and pointed leaves may be on the way to becoming live oaks, the ones in the South and California that never lose their leaves in the fall and are, thus, evergreens. It will take thousands of years for such a conversion, but global warming may shorten that time span a bit. We’ll see.
Most of the eastern United States is made up of counties, townships, cities, villages, hamlets, and neighborhood areas that have names but have no local government. The western states, which came latest, have counties and cities, but also neighborhoods that have distinct names as in the East. Some of the Midwest states, which joined the union in...
One of my closest friends growing up in Levittown was Ronald Kuhlman. His father was a taxidermist, an old-school practitioner of the ancient art who was able to skin a hunter’s pride right down to gut and bone.