Articles by: Ruth Grierson

Ruth Grierson

Ruth Grierson

Columnist
Send any questions or observations to [email protected] or call 244-3742.
  • Nature: Are feeders for the birds?

    Nature: Are feeders for the birds?

    Bird feeders provide so much pleasure for so many people all over the world. Feeders are not really as important to the birds as one would think, except in severe weather conditions. But feeders do provide pleasure for the humans watching and they are educational for all ages who might not get out in woods and fields and notice the world around them. 

  • Nature: Frankly, my dear, blue jays are quite something 

    Nature: Frankly, my dear, blue jays are quite something 

    None other than the blue jay can be described as bold, brash and beautiful — a feathered Rhett Butler in blue and white. (Who knows that name anymore?) This is a northern bird and often seen here on MDI year-round. It is one that easily rivals in looks any bird found in the tropics. Most of us forget about that. A birding friend visiting me from England brought that to my attention when she first caught sight of a blue jay and said, “Ruth, what was THAT beautiful bird?” I answered, “Oh, that’s just a blue jay.”  

  • Nature: Treasure is under our feet

    Nature: Treasure is under our feet

    April is a month full of wildlife stirrings and plant life awakenings after the long, cold winter. Just being outside is a new adventure not to be missed! Watch for new flowers every day along the road, even in the ditches. Don’t miss the coltsfoot that looks a lot like a dandelion at first glance. Coltsfoot flowers bloom before the leaves. 

  • Nature: Raccoons tend to overstay their welcome 

    Nature: Raccoons tend to overstay their welcome 

    You may rue the day you decide to lure them in with food, for one or two raccoons quickly become a crowd. Getting them to come is very easy but getting them to move along is almost impossible. I had a good friend in Manset who welcomed them generously, but after awhile she had them climbing on her roof and tapping on her bedroom window for service. Another friend, also in Manset, who treated the local raccoons to goodies, came home one night to discover that they had gotten into the house and were not wanting to leave. 

  • Nature: Mockingbird’s trill doesn’t thrill city girl 

    Nature: Mockingbird’s trill doesn’t thrill city girl 

    In 1972, when our family moved to Mount Desert Island, mockingbirds were only summer visitors. Then, as years went by, more and more of these birds were seen, even in the winter. It soon became a common sight to see them in the snow and feeding on numerous berries still found on local vegetation. In the last 10 years or so, I have been getting fewer and fewer reports. In some years, I get none about this bird. I have wondered about this. 

  • Nature: A woodpecker’s drum roll is its love song 

    Nature: A woodpecker’s drum roll is its love song 

    This is the start of new month and March will have many surprises in nature for us to uncover. The sun climbs higher in the sky and days will grow appreciably longer. The sap will run and pussy willows will bloom. The winter bills of starlings will show tinges of yellow. The calendars say ‘spring’ and all life is anxious to get on with it. 

  • Nature: Duck, duck…more ducks 

    Nature: Duck, duck…more ducks 

    February is still showing us winter conditions and hardy souls slip and slide while walking outside. Birding is still an option and watching for wildlife from local docks can be very rewarding, Eiders are much in evidence as well as long-tailed ducks. Guillemots are still in their winter plumage and they are always fun to see.

Never miss a beat! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get top stories sent straight to your inbox.