One-Note Wonder

Historical recordings of bird song help identify a new species by its unique vocalization.

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Dry Wall

A few years ago, I spent a couple of peaceable afternoons with a good friend atop her California roof, weeding the landscaped grasses of her sustainably-built home. When we started, the large roof was an overgrown lawn; when we finished, the sweeping lines of the grasses and succulents were restored to their usual beauty. We…

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Wall of Sound

It started raining today after a few days of sun, and the birds outside in the garden are berserk with spring joy. There’s a symphony of birdsong that I can hear even through shut windows. The chorus changes, rises, falls, and is (rarely) silent for just a moment, as if all the birds are catching…

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Flyways and Wetland Rotation

Farmland gain across the world often means habitat loss of wetlands – important habitats for migratory birds. An interesting project proposed adding an old crop to the regular rotation on a number of farms originally won from deltas and estuaries: namely, the crop of water. I picture a watery mosaic in flux, with changing colors…

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Stranger in Red

  I was sitting at my desk yesterday when an unaccustomed flash of red caught my eye out the window. The weather has been dismal these last few days – unbroken rain and fog, so the red stood out. It was a bird I am pretty sure I have never seen in these here parts,…

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Snow Sparrows

We’ve had some heavy snowfall over the past couple of days, so heavy that the birds are careful around the feeders because of all the snow in the trees branches right overhead. There are six sparrows hidden in the image above, waiting their turn. The air outside is thick and cottony with the latest snow…

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Party in the Plum Tree

There’s a small plum tree outside my office window, onĀ  the opposite side of our garden wall. It’s still lush considering the season, a blaze of bright yellow leaves almost the same hue as the long-gone fruit the tree bears in summer. Over the past few days, the weather reports for the area have had…

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