The Outside Story: Woodpeckers are well adapted to winter

Measuring only 6 inches in length and weighing less than an ounce, downy woodpeckers are the smallest of North America’s 22 native woodpecker species.

The Outside Story: Stars of the spring woods soundtrack

This spring, as you walk outside, keep an ear open for two distinctive bird songs: zee zee zee zee zo zee or zee zee zo zo zee. If you hear them, you’ve identified a black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens), a bird that is often heard but rarely se … (read more)

The Outside Story: Brown creepers: Denizens of the bark

On certain afternoons, if I time it just right, I may spot a brown creeper (Certhia americana) on the trunk of a tree in my front yard. Moving stealthily, almost imperceptibly up the tree, the brown creeper hunts for food among the bark. I watch this avia … (read more)

The Outside Story: Bluebirds flock to feeders in winter

On Valentine’s Day, as I sat down to write, I noticed a burst of blue outside my upstairs window. Looking out with my binoculars, I counted six eastern bluebirds. Clustered on and below my suet feeders, they were a wonderfully pleasant surprise on a chill … (read more)

The outside story: Owls are fascinating forest residents

On frigid winter evenings, the hooting of a barred owl (Strix varia) serves as a reminder that the darkened forests of the Northeast are still very much alive with activity. Their nocturnal calling emanates from favorite forest haunts, including along lak … (read more)

The outside story: Tufted titmice flock to feeders

As winter approaches and snow coats the ground, the tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) will again become a ubiquitous backyard visitor. Familiar to even the most casual observers of nature, titmice readily come to feeders, especially those filled with s … (read more)