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Speaking of Nature: Midnight wail — The call of the Red Fox
02-19-2024 6:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

It was early in the morning.  I had a fresh cup of coffee and a little something to nibble on as I sat down at my computer and tried to make a decision.  What was I going to write about this week?  There were two ideas rattling around in my head but...

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Speaking of Nature: A romantic evening for two birders: To hear the wonderful sounds of the Saw-whet Owl, one must go outside at night
02-12-2024 6:01 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

It was a cold winter’s night and my beautiful wife Susan and I were watching movies. There was a fire crackling in the wood stove, we were enjoying good food and drink and we were both all snoodled up and comfy. It was everything you could have wanted...


Speaking of Nature: Where have all the birds gone?: They’re there, and here’s a handy tool to keep track of their appearances
02-05-2024 6:01 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

I receive emails from readers throughout the year and I do my best to respond to them in a timely manner. Sometimes messages pile up in my inbox and sometimes things get filed incorrectly, but I genuinely do try to respond to every one. This year (the...


Speaking of Nature: Who is that mysterious woodpecker?: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has caused quite a stir with readers
01-29-2024 6:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

My selection of a writing topic is not always an easy thing. Sometimes I sit down to the keyboard and find myself completely stuck. I haven’t had an idea all week and at the last minute I still find myself with nothing to focus on. These are the...


Speaking of Nature: Drama at the feeders: The arrival of winter means the arrival of some foul-weather friends
01-22-2024 6:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

It appears as though winter has finally arrived. November and December (most of which is technically autumn) were very mild and all through the Christmas break the high temperatures were consistently above freezing. This resulted in little to no snow...


Speaking of Nature: It happens every year: Robins brave the snow in search of food
01-15-2024 7:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

Every winter I get a few emails from readers who want to know if it is normal to see American Robins in winter and every winter I send out responses that indicate that the presence of these birds is quite normal. I then go on to discuss various...


Speaking of Nature: Records and a national spotlight in 2023
12-31-2023 10:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

Welcome to 2024 everybody. As is tradition at this time of year, I like to take a look back at the highlights, successes and other happenings we have shared over the past 12 months. So without further adieu, let’s dive back in time to one year...


Speaking of Nature: An immature Cooper’s Hawk gives me a glare
12-25-2023 2:00 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

Dear Reader: I can’t believe that 2023 is almost over. Next week I am going to work on my traditional Year-In-Review column, but today I have decided to give myself permission to go back to one of my favorite photos of 2023. This is a photo that I...


Speaking of Nature: The winterberry —  A winter treasure
12-17-2023 1:11 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

With Christmas just around the corner, preparations for the big day are in full swing. Just last weekend I visited my parents’ house in South Amherst and I participated in a new activity: card making. My mother has become a real fan of creating...


Speaking of Nature: No bird record set in November
12-10-2023 3:34 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

I’ll just get straight to the point – it didn’t happen. Try as I might, I was unable to break the record for the number of bird species observed in my yard. For about a week it looked as though my magical record-breaking streak of four consecutive...


Speaking of Nature: Learning about larch trees: The non-evergreen evergreen that sleeps during the winter isn’t dead at all
11-27-2023 9:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

As November comes to a close, we find ourselves just three weeks away from the official arrival of winter. Many of us have seen our first snowflakes already, and last week we had a wintry mix that may have added a smidgen of anxiety for anyone...


Speaking of Nature: Not the bird visitor I was expecting: A perfect comparison of an adult and an immature Sharp-shinned hawk
11-20-2023 9:40 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

It was your standard November morning. I had a cup of coffee, I was adding notes on temperature and precipitation into my journal and I was keeping track of the arrival times and numbers of different species of birds. There was nothing out of the...


Speaking of Nature: The American Tree Sparrow
11-12-2023 11:14 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

As I write this column I am looking out my office window at a world that is enduring its first winter storm of the season. Back in October we saw the first flakes of snow, but that wasn’t really enough to describe as a storm. It was thrilling to see,...


Speaking of Nature: A new record, and then another: October brought more photos and more species: one a guarantee, the other serendipity
11-06-2023 6:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

Sometimes you see these things coming and other times you don’t. This is a story about both. The first was simple math and I could see its approach coming months ago. There was a certain inevitability about the whole situation and it was really just a...


Speaking of Nature: A late-October feast: Butter-and-eggs wildflowers a surprise burst of color before the cold
10-30-2023 5:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

It was early in the morning, before the sun had come up, and I was tasked with the weekly chore of taking the garbage out to the curb. Sometimes I remember to do this the night before, but I am somewhat wary of the midnight raiders that might knock...


Speaking of Nature: Small but sassy: Ruby-crowned kinglet sighting a welcome respite from the news
10-23-2023 5:00 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

As more and more of the national and international news seems to be increasingly depressing and alarming, I imagine that many of you, like myself, might be looking for solace wherever you can find it. It might be losing yourself in the spirit of the...


Speaking of Nature: Growing in a quiet corner — the nannyberry
10-15-2023 3:46 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

“One has only to sit down in the woods or fields, or by the shore of the river or the lake, and nearly everything of interest will come round to him, — the birds, the animals, the insects; and presently, after his eye has got accustomed to place, and...


Speaking of Nature: A new face among old friends — the Blue-headed Vireo
10-08-2023 10:11 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

Well, dear reader. I find myself presented with an increasingly rare opportunity to introduce you to a species that has not been discussed in the past 26 years of my column. As time has marched on I have seen one species of bird after another, but to...


Speaking of Nature: Hidden in plain sight: An Ovenbird makes a late-season appearance
10-01-2023 10:38 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

October has arrived and I find myself taken by surprise. The forest behind my house is showing spots of fall colors and this appears to have happened all at once. I am certain that it has been a gradual process, but when one is distracted by the...


Speaking of Nature: Solving the mystery of the missing squirrels: Before the leaves begin to turn, birds and critters know the seasonal shift is coming
09-25-2023 10:36 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

Everything seems to have changed at the end of August. Things had been going along “normally,” which meant that I needed to fill my birdfeeders every morning and they were all empty by the time I got home from work. Then, one day, I noticed that the...


Speaking of nature: I want that fly — Observations of a hungry magnolia warbler
09-17-2023 9:31 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

The first week of September was appalling. The highest combination of head and humidity that we had experienced all summer all presented in a heat wave that lasted for four days. Then, even though the temperatures moderated somewhat, the humidity...

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