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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...

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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...


On The Ridge with Joe Judd: Feeding wildlife doesn’t help
01-10-2024 3:49 PM

Wintertime in Massachusetts allows residents everywhere to begin their yearly ritual of feeding the birds. People love watching the many species of birds arriving at their feeders every winter. And in Shelburne, we especially love it when we see one...


Athol Bird and Nature Club’s 2024 calendar now available
12-11-2023 4:18 PM

ATHOL — The Athol Bird and Nature Club’s 2024 calendar, filled with nature notes, trivia questions and photos of local birds, animals and plants, is now available.The “Birds and Nature of the North Quabbin” 2024 calendar focuses on the beauty of the...


Speaking of Nature: The green-tailed towhee: What are you doing here?
05-14-2023 5:00 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

To celebrate our anniversary, my beautiful wife Susan and I decided to spend the first weekend of May in Newport, Rhode Island. This is where we were staying when I proposed to her and every now and then we like to head back to the scene of the crime...


Speaking of Nature: Parenthood and the midnight raiders — Raccoon breeding season
05-07-2023 11:08 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

Three or four times last week I noticed an enormous raccoon on my deck in the moments just before dawn. This was clearly a raccoon that was scrounging for any scraps left over from the meal that I had set out for the birds the evening before and I...


With swell of donors, repairs at Conway raptor sanctuary well underway
04-03-2023 5:31 PM

By JULIAN MENDOZA

GREENFIELD — Despite raptor rehabilitator Tom Ricardi receiving a bill that was more than five times what he expected for tree removal, repairs to his Conway sanctuary are well underway.Three enclosures at Ricardi’s Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center...


Speaking of Nature: The first day of spring
03-26-2023 12:20 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

One thing that I must remember to be mindful of is that my readers live in different places. Some weather events can be quite localized and others express themselves in different ways depending on latitude and elevation. Thus, what happens in...


Speaking of Nature: Great Plains nomad — The brown-headed cowbird
03-19-2023 9:48 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

In the year 1500, just a blink of an eye before Europeans started migrating into North America in large numbers, the ecology of the “New World” was relatively stable. Forests of various types dominated the eastern third of the continent, forests of...


Speaking of Nature: Conflict — The fight for survival
03-05-2023 6:15 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

We’ve reached that point in the school year when my biology students have learned about Gregor Mendel, his experiments with pea plants and the general concepts of genes and heredity. We’ve also taken a look at the structures and basic functions of DNA...


Fallen tree destroys raptor enclosures, kills owls in Conway
03-02-2023 10:51 AM

By JULIAN MENDOZA

CONWAY — Even those who are driven to help others sometimes need help. Just ask raptor rehabilitator Tom Ricardi, whose bird enclosures were recently ravaged by a fallen pine tree.According to Ricardi, the tree tore through one of the property’s cages...


Speaking of Nature: Man vs. squirrel, round 2
02-20-2023 7:23 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

In last week’s column, I featured the American red squirrel and I shared a photo of one of these rascals solving the puzzle of one of my birdfeeders. “How, do I get those peanuts?” it must have wondered and in relatively short order it managed to get...


Speaking of Nature: Man vs. squirrel, round 2
02-13-2023 9:46 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

In last week’s column, I featured the American red squirrel and I shared a photo of one of these rascals solving the puzzle of one of my birdfeeders. “How, do I get those peanuts?” it must have wondered and in relatively short order it managed to get...


Earth Matters: Bird joy as resistance in a troubled world
02-06-2023 4:49 PM

By MEGHADEEPA MAITY

When I look at the news, I’m far more likely to see a Black victim of police brutality than to see a Black birder like Dexter Patterson (a.k.a. The Wisco Birder) singing and laughing in the woods. Today’s mainstream media have shown a necessary,...


Speaking of Nature: The grand deception of the northern mockingbird
01-22-2023 3:00 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

I have no idea how many photos exist in my personal collection, nor, I am afraid, will I ever know. I can say (definitively) that in the past 6 years I have taken exactly 104,308 photos, but that is where “exact” comes to a close. My records prior to...


Speaking of Nature: A tale of two sparrows
01-08-2023 3:00 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

For the past couple weeks I have found myself grumbling during my mornings at the kitchen window.For some reason my yard has become popular with a flock of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and I am not at all pleased. The house sparrow is an...


Speaking of Nature: 2023 resolutions: Pointing the lens at plants
01-01-2023 3:00 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

Welcome to 2023! Another calendar has been used, another red journal finished and safely tucked away on a shelf and newness has taken over. I place a brand new desk blotter calendar on my office desk, I unwrap a brand new red journal and begin to...


Athol Bird and Nature Club asking for help for raptor rehabilitator
04-18-2022 5:58 PM

By GREG VINE

ATHOL — Members of the Athol Bird and Nature Club do more than watch birds in the wild. Sometimes, they rescue them. Club President David Small said he sends about a half-dozen birds to the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center in Conway each year.Now,...

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