Nature

  • Nature: Naming of the shrews 

    Nature: Naming of the shrews 

    Frigid winds and winter snows keep many of us indoors this month. After a snowfall, our trees and shrubs glisten like diamonds and we know for sure it’s February. In spite of the weather, chickadees seem to enjoy a good snowstorm and kinglets look for food unconcernedly. Shrews hunt even in sub-zero temperatures for they need to always be eating to survive. Unless a cat brings one in and you recognize it as something other than a mouse, you may never know they’re around.  

  • 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

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