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The Buzz on Bees

The Buzz on Bees

“…the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne The yard contains about a dozen white boxes, each standing some four feet tall. A wrangler, whose job it is to move the living contents from one area to the next, approaches the white structure. He uses a tool to puff smoke into the box and then removes the wooden […]

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Touch the Sky: Bird Banding with RI Natural History Survey

Touch the Sky: Bird Banding with RI Natural History Survey

  For even the most casual birder, spring is an exciting time. The warm temperatures mean the return of birds not seen during the long dreary months of winter. Even feathers of the goldfinch, who lingers all winter, bear a dreary greenish color during the cold months. But that all changes come April. Suddenly, there are songs and brilliant feathers everywhere. Feeders fill with the newly returned, and many people […]

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From Billions to None: One Species’ Destruction and Lessons for Today
By     |    Mar 1, 2014
Posted in: Uncategorized     |    3 Comments

From Billions to None: One Species’ Destruction and Lessons for Today

        There were as many as five billion of them. When the passenger pigeons came together to roost or to feed, the sky would darken with their numbers, the air pushed by their wings would whip to gale force. Their population made up fully one-fourth of all the birds in North America, and it’s estimated that they could fly at 60 miles per hour. And within four decades, we killed […]

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Is it Snow, Hail, or Other?
By     |    Jan 18, 2014
Posted in: RINHS, Uncategorized     |    2 Comments

Is it Snow, Hail, or Other?

    The day after Christmas, the path into the woods was nearly bare. With morning temperatures at 28 degrees, it wasn’t unusual to see patches of white stuff on the ground. And, being Rhode Island, it wasn’t unusual for that to be the only snow on the ground. But there was something different about this. The snow wasn’t a delicate powder, nor was it composed of ice crystals like […]

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Three Firsts on the First

Three Firsts on the First

The holiday season brings, among other things, loved ones from near and far. Yet by the first of the year, most have left and life returns to its relative normalcy. This New Year’s Day, however, was different indeed. On January 1, 2014, there were representatives from the Heartlands, the West, and even the Arctic. Friends never met, but only admired through the reports of friends on a listserv. Inland, the […]

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Tails of the Quick and the Dead
By     |    Dec 7, 2013
Posted in: Natural Science, Uncategorized     |    No Comments

Tails of the Quick and the Dead

“I like long walks on the beach, reading poetry, and poking dead things with a stick.” – Source unknown Picture this: you are enjoying a leisurely stroll along one of our magnificent shorelines. Your gaze drifts unhurriedly from the water’s edge to the wrack line, the line of accumulated seaweed that the waves toss up as they roll against the beach. Suddenly, your eyes spot what seems to be a […]

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Who Needs Darkness?
By     |    Nov 10, 2013
Posted in: Light pollution, RINHS, The City Dark, Uncategorized     |    No Comments

Who Needs Darkness?

Note: all photos for this story come from www.thecitydark.com What do we lose when we lose the night? When our skies are lit 24 hours a day, and the stars are no longer visible? Rhode Island Natural History Survey (www.rinhs.org) raised those questions Saturday night on the URI campus as part of a showing of the film “The City Dark”. The event kicked off Rhode Island’s first Natural History week, […]

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Protichneumon Poetry
By     |    Oct 27, 2013
Posted in: Saturday Evening Post, Uncategorized     |    No Comments

Protichneumon Poetry

An introduction:           In my usual perambulations around the Markey ranch, I ran across the insect pictured here.  After hours of searching, I had learned the Latin name, Protichneumon Grandis (which is a form of Ichneumon Grandis), but little else. I searched through my two insect guides as well as the Internet to no avail.  Finally, I used EBSCO, an online database provided by libraries as a search engine to […]

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Three Things I Learned at AMC Highlands
By     |    Oct 20, 2013
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Three Things I Learned at AMC Highlands

Last weekend, I spent a few days hiking in the Crawford Notch region of New Hampshire, while staying at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC’s) Highland Center. Here’s what I learned. 1. The Highland Center is a cross between a hiking hut and a hotel. In a really, really good way. Let me be honest here: I don’t vacation often, but when I do, I want a hot shower, clean sheets, […]

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Raptor Rapture
By     |    Oct 13, 2013
Posted in: Natural Science, Uncategorized     |    No Comments

Raptor Rapture

  The pickup truck rolled to a stop by a gate that blocked vehicles from the entrance to Grills Preserve in Westerly. It was afternoon in early autumn, and though it was not yet five o’clock, the shadows had begun to lengthen. John and Vivian Maxson, the team that comprised Born to be Wild Nature Center (BTBW), climbed out of the truck. John reached into the truck bed and grabbed […]

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