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  • It’s that time of year when all of the birds start arriving and setting up homesteads here on eastern Long Island. More and more southern birds have been overwintering so it has become hard to say which ones are year-round residents and which ones are part-timers.
  • Just about everyone has a rough idea of what “food chains” and “food pyramids” are. The ones at the very bottom are the microbes, single-celled diatoms and the like; the ones at the top are the “top” carnivores. In one respect, the human is a top carnivore. In another, a top herbivore. In all respects — strict vegetarians omitted — an omnivore.
  • I just read in today’s New York Times that Nashville has a case of the demolition blues. I may have the same sickness. I also read a reminiscence by Beth Howard, a writer who rented the little farmhouse in Eldon, Iowa, made famous by Grant Wood’s 1930 painting “American Gothic.” Two American themes going in the opposite direction.
  • In last week’s column, I wrote about the beginning of the local eastern bluebird season. Then I received Joe Giunta’s annual recap of the East Hampton Town area’s bluebird box yield for 2017. Joe and his volunteers have been checking out and maintaining the boxes at nine different East Hampton Town sites and two boxes on North Haven in Southampton Town for nearly 20 years.
  • March came in like a lion and a lioness. Now it’s time to get on with spring. Notwithstanding two major coastal storms, signs of spring have been filtering through the stormy air.
  • Yes, we are on the verge of yet another spring, another new year, another chance to set things right.
  • The leaves, except the very lowest, are off the local hardwood trees, most of which are oaks, with fewer hickories, beech, sassafras, and maples. As one drives along the back roads and looks up to either side, the globular bundles of dried leaves and twigs stand out. They’re mostly the size of soccer balls — we would have a hard time trying to fit inside — but they are the perfect size for gray squirrels, our most common mammal larger than a rat.
  • Last year there were reports of both ospreys and bald eagles flying or roosting in the vicinity of Kellis Pond, fishing but not reproducing. Greg Boeklen’s photo was the icing on the cake.
  • By the turn of the last century, we knew very little about the Arctic and an awful lot about the Antarctic. The Antarctic was sexy, the Arctic dull.
  • There are many ways of pairing up and raising young, among humans and in the natural world. Monogamy is found in all other vertebrates, but mostly in birds. We defend the foreigner mute swan from exile in part because it is monogamous, at least seasonally. The bald eagle, osprey, and a host of other avian species are also monogamous.