Articles by: Ruth Grierson

Ruth Grierson

Ruth Grierson

Columnist
Send any questions or observations to [email protected] or call 244-3742.
  • Nature: Things are seldom what they seem

    Nature: Things are seldom what they seem

    Mockingbirds used to be Southern birds only, with maybe an occasional summer visitor seen here on MDI. We moved to Maine in 1972, and, at that time they were considered seasonal birds here on Mount Desert Island. Through the years, their numbers increased and then some started staying through the winter in certain areas, though they are still not commonly seen in northern Maine.

  • Nature: Nothing dampens the spirit of a tree sparrow

    Nature: Nothing dampens the spirit of a tree sparrow

    Regardless of the weather – cold, wet or clear – nothing dampens the spirit of a tree sparrow. This bird is easy to recognize for it has a reddish cap and a single black breast spot. Here on our island, we see it in January foraging through wet fields, clinging to a grass stalk to grab seeds or stopping at feeders. This attractive sparrow is with us throughout the winter up to middle or late April.

  • Nature: When it snows, the hunted breathe a bit easier 

    Nature: When it snows, the hunted breathe a bit easier 

    A New Year begins for us and all the wildlife sharing this island with us and there are still a few surprises to be had. A friend in Bar Harbor saw a turkey vulture flying over Eagle Lake on Dec. 31. Vultures are usually enjoying the sun and beach much farther south. These large birds are usually gone by the end of September and don’t return until

  • Nature: Winter brings a wonderland of creatures to watch 

    Nature: Winter brings a wonderland of creatures to watch 

    It’s snowing, it’s snowing, it’s snowing outside of our window…” These words, and tune, popped into my mind during the recent snowstorm we had. Years ago, I wrote it for my kindergarten music classes in public schools. Even in a pandemic with virtual classes, a snow day is still observed. It’s tradition!  Snow means many things to wildlife on this island. For some creatures, it’s harder to get around; for others, it’s safer to get

  • Nature: Bird beaks fit the bill

    Nature: Bird beaks fit the bill

    Feathered visitors keep feeders busy, especially this time of year. Redpolls arrive and stay through April. These colorful little wanderers drift into the Northeast every winter. They usually show up with the first snowflakes and leave when spring approaches. You may see them in small groups or in flocks of hundreds! They are about the size if

  • Nature: Snowy owls are a winter-long favorite 

    Nature: Snowy owls are a winter-long favorite 

    A flock of evening grosbeaks flew in with a flourish to an island feeder this past week, making the yard and the area beneath the feeder very colorful with yellow, black and white. This is definitely the time for them to be more and more visible. They are bold, brash and beautiful.  Friends in Southwest Harbor sent me a photo of an old,

  • Nature: Beavers keep busy preparing for winter

    Nature: Beavers keep busy preparing for winter

    On any warmer autumn days that come our way, be on the lookout for strange floating objects (or swarms) in local woods and fields. These swarms contain filmy white insects with blue bottoms! Some people affectionally call them blue-bottom bugs. To me, these ethereal creatures look like something Dr. Seuss created. They are really named woolly