sparrow diving

Why I Buy Sunflower Seeds

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you run and run but never seem to get anywhere? I woke up from a nap the other day with my heart pounding and sweat beading on my forehead. I hadn’t been running in my dream—I had been flapping. I dreamt I was a migrating bird. […]

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song sparrow

Song Sparrow as a Teacher of Bird Language

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) Habitat: Depends on thickets, tall grasses, forbs, yards, and finds abandoned lots ideal Foraging Habits: Searching ground and shrub level for seeds & invertebrates Range: Common and cosmopolitan, throughout North America Territory Size: .5 – 1.5 Acres Personality: Retiring, elusive, yet very expressive and territorial Height Zone: Ground level to lower […]

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the sit spot pond

Sit Spot Murmurs

Two years ago in the late summer, I started seeing bear scat along a field edge on the way to my sit spot. An inch and a half tube full of raspberry seeds is hard to miss or misidentify here in northern Vermont. Then a bit later the chokecherry bushes in the south end of […]

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smoky mountains

Hazards: Following Fears, Gaining Awareness

A deep need for humans is outdoor safety, the maintenance of life, and limb. This is a powerful connecting force with the rest of life! From the sparrow fleeing the hawk, to the caterpillar hiding from the wasp, all creatures share a desire to avoid dangers or hazards. If you hook up electrodes to measure […]

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Homemade Bird Feeders

Bird watching is an engaging and educational hobby that offers a unique blend of excitement and tranquility you won’t find anywhere else. Although a wide variety of birds will often be seen during a walk or hike, you can observe many of these birds from the comfort of your own home if you simply provide […]

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Feeding Wild Birds

Feeding wild birds doesn’t have to be expensive but once you start you should not stop feeding during the winter, once the birds become used to your feeding stations. You can stop feeding in the spring once insects and other fruits become available. Once most people start feeding wild birds, they don’t want to stop […]

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song sparrow

Bird Behavior: Bird Language Basics

Listening to birds and watching bird behavior allows us to become aware of animal activity, to sneak up on wildlife or unsuspecting friends, and to enhance our senses. In my year at Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake Outdoor School, in Duvall, Washington, I explored the school’s teachings about birds, bird watching, and awareness. Here I’ll share […]

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sparrow in the autumn

The Season of Zugunruhe

A Redstart gleams glossy black and is gone. Kinglets trickle past me, their high calls scattering south. Bird migration is in full swing. The birds may be finding their way by seeing the magnetic fields of the earth by virtue of magnetite crystals in their brains, internal compasses that let them perceive magnetism as we […]

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Bird Skeletons and Avian Physiology

Before the advent of airplanes, people mimicked the design of bird skeletons in hopes of achieving the freedom of flight. A great many flapping and gliding contraptions were conceived and tested, endeavors that yielded only a sense of disappointment and a few good lessons about flight dynamics. Others involved in similar experiments were far less […]

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Bird Wings – What’s on a Wing?

For those of us who pursue the mysteries of feathers, and bird wings, questions are numerous and answers are hard to come by. Even a seemingly simple question such as, “Who dropped this feather?” can be a daunting one. With over 900 bird species living in the United States and Canada, it is hard to […]

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