Something Wild en The Company Of Cuckoos <p>Elusive, secretive birds often are the most satisfying to discover, and for me the black-billed cuckoo ranks near the top.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Hearing a bird is usually the best way to find it, but attentive ears are needed to detect this cuckoo's song: a subtle, slow and hollow-sounding "</span>cucucu<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> – </span>cucucucu<span style="line-height: 1.5;">."&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The song in no way resembles the bold double notes of a cuckoo clock that mimic the song of the common cuckoo, a species that nests across Europe an Fri, 26 Jul 2013 04:00:00 +0000 Francie Von Mertens & Chris Martin 30171 at The Company Of Cuckoos Fireflies-- Beyond the Magic <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The twinkling fireflies of a summer night bring a little magic.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">If we think beyond the twinkling, we probably realize it is courtship in progress: the signals of males and females.</span></p><p></p> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 04:00:00 +0000 Chris Martin & Francie Von Mertens 30169 at Fireflies-- Beyond the Magic Going Woodcocking (And Making Memories) <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>One of the rituals I shared with my children when they were growing up was stalking woodcocks during their spring courtship display. I guess I was sort of emulating a hero of mine named Aldo Leopold.</p><p>At twilight on April evenings, the woodcocks perform what naturalist Aldo Leopold described as "The Sky Dance" in an essay of the same title from his book <u>A Sand Country Almanac</u>, it's a sort of Bible for conservationists.</p><p></p> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 04:00:00 +0000 Dave Anderson 26038 at Going Woodcocking (And Making Memories) The Maligned Fisher <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The "</span>fisher cat<span style="line-height: 1.5;">": ferocious predator of house cats whose bloodcurdling screams pierce the dark of night.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Facts about this one wildlife species have mutated a </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">long</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> way into fiction.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For starters, fishers are members of the weasel family—not feline.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Properly referred to, they're "fishers," not "fisher cats."&nbsp;</s Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:11:26 +0000 Chris Martin & Francie Von Mertens 22369 at The Maligned Fisher Gifts for the Budding Naturalist <p>As&nbsp;the year&nbsp;draws to a close, it's&nbsp;a great time to reflect on Rachel Carson's <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Silent Spring</em><em> </em></a>once more. 2012&nbsp;marks the books<a href="" target="_blank"> 50th anniversary</a>. The book&nbsp;encouraged many young naturalists and, with the holidays approaching, we've come up with two gifts to&nbsp;further&nbsp;one's&nbsp;love of nature: a pair of binoculars and a bird guide.</p> Fri, 14 Dec 2012 05:00:00 +0000 Chris Martin & Francie Von Mertens 15409 at Gifts for the Budding Naturalist Local Farm-Raised Christmas Trees <p>According to the <a href="">National Christmas Tree Growers Association</a>, buying a natural, farm-grown Christmas tree is a traditional custom for up to 30 million American families who celebrate the holidays with the fragrance and beauty of locally-raised, farm-grown Christmas trees. Today, the majority of Christmas trees are plantation-grown. There are an estimated 350 million Christmas trees growing nationwide.</p> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 05:00:00 +0000 Dave Anderson 17880 at Local Farm-Raised Christmas Trees Azure Crescendo <p>Generations ago, when people lived closer to the natural world, more outdoors than in, mild October days were called "bluebird weather. "The eastern bluebirds' gentle, quizzical notes were familiar and their distinctive habits recognized. A bluebird family remains together this time of year when most other bird species disperse. They favor field or open habitat, and typically perch on branches at field edge when they feed. Family members take turns dropping down to the ground then return to perch, one after another, most likely in pursuit of grasshopper or cricket. Fri, 19 Oct 2012 04:00:00 +0000 Chris Martin 14956 at Azure Crescendo