Cardinals to Cuckoos, Urban Birds are Everywhere
By     |    Jun 1, 2020
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Cardinals to Cuckoos, Urban Birds are Everywhere

Parks are limited and social distancing is the rule, but birds are still flying. They’re everywhere right now, whether returning from far off winter homes or just coming out to find a mate. And you don’t need to travel to somewhere in the country to see them. Just look up. “Actually, the odds are pretty high that you’ll see some good birds right in downtown Providence.” Dan Berard is a […]

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An Army of Frogs, a Knot of Toads: Spring means a big night for amphibians
By     |    May 23, 2020
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An Army of Frogs, a Knot of Toads: Spring means a big night for amphibians

You can hear them on a mild spring night: what sounds like a flock of ducks, quack-quacking from a nearby freshwater pool. But these are no ducks; instead, they are Wood Frogs, calling out to invite females to have a mating swim in the pool. Wood Frogs are typically the first inhabitant of the pools heard in the springtime, even before the more popular Spring Peeper toad. It means that […]

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Ospreys Return

Ospreys Return

Note: This story appeared in the Providence Journal 3/27/20, and in hard copy 3/29/20. All photos by Gary Carlson: ifishinri@aol.com. Used with permission. The human world is in turmoil, but spring is arriving unconcerned. Skunk cabbage is popping its pungent leaves through the marsh. Forsythia is only days away from its sunlight yellow show of flowers. And in the skies, the Ospreys are returning. The males come first, making a […]

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Building Resilience: 41 North Fall 2019

Building Resilience: 41 North Fall 2019

Read the latest issue of 41° North here and find out how Rhode Islanders are responding to climate change. Included in this issue are two stories of mine. Enjoy!

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If you build it, will they come? R.I.’s first artificial reef

If you build it, will they come? R.I.’s first artificial reef

It’s been done using decommissioned ships, oil rigs, and even subway cars. Now it’s being done for the first time in Rhode Island. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and RI DEM have teamed up to create the state’s first artificial reef, situated off Sabin Point in Providence. TNC’s communications manager Tim Mooney says the hope is that adding complex structure to the floor of Narragansett Bay will improve recreational fishing and […]

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Shark Bites
By     |    Jul 8, 2019
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Shark Bites

The following is a short article that I wrote for the August 2019 issue of RI Monthly Magazine. Rhode Island is home to a feeding frenzy of shark research. Just a few examples: How not to age a shark: NOAA’s Dr. Lisa Natanson recently published a paper that blew up the way sharks are aged. Until recently, scientists had been relying on pairs of growth rings in shark spines (like […]

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DEM’s Canada Goose Roundup

DEM’s Canada Goose Roundup

  It’s a warm June morning as a flotilla of five kayakers makes its way to a pond in Tiverton. They fan out across the diameter and quietly approach a small island. As they approach, a flock of Canada geese break off from their breakfast of sea grass and nervously begin to stir. The guardians stretch their long necks up, trying to assess the situation, making low sounds to each […]

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Listening for Fish: Acoustic Array in RI Waters
By     |    Jun 19, 2019
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Listening for Fish: Acoustic Array in RI Waters

The waters off Rhode Island have been a black hole when it comes to knowing the habits and migrations of many fish species. True, some fish carry acoustic tags that produce a signal which could relay an abundance of information. Trouble was, there was nothing around here to listen to that signal. That began to change recently with the deployment of an “acoustic array”, a dozen listening devices designed to […]

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20 Years of Sorting Life with Rhode Island Natural History Survey

20 Years of Sorting Life with Rhode Island Natural History Survey

NOTE: This story originally appeared in RI Central Newspapers 6/6/19. David Gregg, executive director of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) sits under a canopy at a long table sorting ants. There are perhaps a dozen or so that he has recently collected contained in a tiny bottle. He separates them before handing them off to an ant expert who will do the job of telling the difference between […]

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Art, Science, and Open House at RINHS
By     |    Feb 3, 2019
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Art, Science, and Open House at RINHS

When the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) held its annual open house at URI’s East Farm last week, there was the usual chatter: how the latest scientific paper was coming along, what new discoveries had been made in the natural world. But what drew the most attention from the crowd wasn’t the skulls or the turtle shells on display in a glass case. It was the art. At first, […]

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