As if the Cornell Lab of Ornithology isn’t already fantastic enough, this leading authority on birds recently released a new in-depth website that explores many facets of feathers from scientific viewpoints.
Viewers can learn how feathers work in a section devoted to feather anatomy. In Feather Function, the various roles of feathers are explored, such as flight, display, camouflage, insulation and weatherproofing. Other sections illustrate how feathers develop and how they have evolved over time. Read more
After a few milder than normal winters, this winter has been an eye opener for many people; it has been cold with very few breaks and the wood pile that was slightly more than half used through last winter is now down to the last few logs of the last row. Spring officially arrived on March 20 this year, but as I write this column, it is 24 degrees and the wind is gusting up to 40 mph. Read more
While it may be hard to believe, given lingering low temperatures and a still-bleak landscape littered with dirty aging snow, spring is underway. Even for those of us who regularly venture outside to enjoy winter’s many fine qualities, this past winter has felt exceptionally long, punishingly cold and unusually restrictive. Read more
A couple of weeks back, I took a trip up and down the river, and up and around Lackawaxen and Shohola townships. There was lots of wildlife present on the river and above. What was more significant was the wildlife tally observed on the roadway on this trip of 30 or so miles. The critter road tally was nine turkey, seven deer (four different locations), a couple of crows feeding on road kill, and one opossum calmly walking along the shoulder. Read more
If you have been lucky this winter, you may have seen a migrant golden eagle; a few visit each winter from Canada. Recently though, migrations of eagles and other raptors have incurred additional risk with the increase in the numbers of wind turbines on ridges that raptors use for orographic or ridge lift during migration. Read more
As winter’s grip begins to loosen, wildlife start to emerge and our encounters with them increase. Such was the case for a small opossum that appeared at my door one recent evening as it scrounged for sustenance.
Well adapted in terms of diet, opossums are omnivores and enjoy a variety of foods such as fruits, seeds, meat, eggs, insects and carrion. Although they often den in hollow trees, logs or brush piles, opossums are also well adapted to human environments and will sometimes seek shelter in culverts and beneath outbuildings. Read more
As I look out the window, it is snowing; there is already 12 inches on the ground from a previous storm, and now another foot or so is forecast to fall. Most of us have already stocked up on groceries. Schools have closed for the day and the kids are likely looking for something to do. Will mid-February be the onset of cabin fever for the region? Read more
The ongoing cold snap of the last month or so has been great for skiers and ice fishermen, but not so great for homeowners fighting high heating bills, or people who have had to travel in the many “nuisance storms” during the course of the winter. Municipalities along the river have been keeping a close eye out for ice jams and the resulting flooding that can occur during very cold weather. Not all the frozen water has been bad, though. Read more