Mothers Unite! (No children required)

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens. Mother: One who watches moths. This week is National Moth Week and although it’s nearly over, you still have time to get out and see some moths. Moths are one of nature’s most interesting insects, and incredibly numerous. Think a moth is drab and boring? Do a quick search for plume moths, or a Rosy Maple Moth. Personally, I love the subtle beauty of the shapes and patterns of moths. They have more natural, understated beauty like Ingrid Bergman while butterflies are flashier and brighter like Marilyn Monroe. While butterflies get the vast...

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Metropolitan Dawn Chorus

Think, every morning when the sun peeps through The dim leaf-latticed windows of the grove, How jubilant the happy birds renew Their old, melodious madrigals of love! And when you think of this, remember too 'T always morning somewhere, and above The awakening continents, from shore to shore Somewhere the birds are singing ever more -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from 'The Birds of Killingworth' Earlier in May was International Dawn Chorus Day and if you happened to wake up very early and opened your windows, you'd know why. Started and embraced widely in the UK, it's much less known here in the US. This last IDCD had a single registered event in...

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Urban Species Profile:: Hover Flies

One of my favorite insects to find in the city, and they're incredibly easy to see if you know what to look for, are the hover flies. The family Syrphidae contains about 6,000 species (890 in North America). They're known as Syrphid flies but more commonly they're called hover flies or flower flies, and can be found around the world in a variety of habitats. You've possibly seen them but mistaken them for a bee, as many of them resemble them so convincingly, their images are often wrongly used on articles about bees. Look a little closer and you'll see these are not bees;...

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Urban Species Profile:: River Otter

While many species may come to mind with the term 'urban wildlife', otters are not likely among the first to come to mind. Despite this, they can be seen in urban areas. In fact in three of the last cities I've called home, I've seen River Otters in two of them. River Otters can be found throughout most of North America in fresh and even salt water. While River Otters may be common throughout the region, they are less common in urban areas. When I saw a River Otter in Eugene, Oregon along the Millrace which runs through town, nobody believed me...

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How to Find Nature in the City

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens. Perhaps you live in the city, or you’re visiting for a conference, family or vacation. We’re all nature fiends here and we need our nature fix. Even those who are not self declared nature fiends need their nature fix, they just aren’t aware of it. Worry not, it’s not as hard as you might think to find nature in the city. How to find it First of all, you have to change the way you think. Sure, bears and deer and mountain birds are great, but you’re not likely to find them in the city...

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Urban Species Profile:: American Wigeon

Common Name: American Wigeon Scientific Name: Anas americana Family: Anatidae The American Wigeon is a dabbling duck, which are ducks that tip their front ends into the water to forage while their back ends stick up in the air. They maintain a large geographic range, breeding as far north as the Bering Sea and wintering from Canada through Central America. They can be found in a wide range east to west as well and cover most of North and Central America at some point during the year. Their preferred breeding habitat are grasslands where they nest in proximity to water with cover in the...

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