Masters of Construction: Bird Nests

Masters of Construction: Bird Nests

  Consider this: the average human brain weighs roughly 1300 grams (2.86 pounds). A warbler brain weighs about 513 mg. (.00113 pounds). But while a human must spend untold hours and tens of thousands of dollars in order to learn to build a house, the warbler does so as a natural part of its growth process, and in response Spring’s most basic instinct: the urge to procreate. Granted, the plan […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
Wintertime Woody Plant I.D. with Rhode Island Natural History Survey
By     |    Jan 30, 2014
Posted in: BioBlitz, Kettle Pond, Natural Science, RINHS, URI, US Fish and Wildlife, USFW     |    2 Comments

Wintertime Woody Plant I.D. with Rhode Island Natural History Survey

                Who goes tramping through the woods in winter? It’s a time for relaxing by a fire, curling up with a hot beverage, reading. Outdoor events in the toughest month of the year? Surely no one would be foolish enough to even think of attending. Unless, of course, you are part of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS). Then fifty of you show up.          The program, held […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
Deer Hunting versus Deer Damage

Deer Hunting versus Deer Damage

Note: In 2011, US Fish and Wildlife (USFW) made an unusual proposal: allowing deer hunting in some of the wildlife refuges in Rhode Island.  This story traced some of the process of making that suggestion and putting out word to the public. The cab of the truck rocks along the gravel path of Ninigret Wildlife Refuge in Charlestown. The driver, Refuge Manager Charles Vandemoer, brings the vehicle to an abrupt […]

Read more
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, […]

Read more