Why do birds fly in a V?

Have you ever looked up at the sound of honking geese or crying gulls to see a big group of birds winging by overhead? Perhaps they’re so close you can hear the air rushing around their wings. The birds may fly in a ‘V’ or check-mark shape, with a sharp point and birds trailing off to either side. These flocking …

Where do bugs go in the winter?

Summertime is always marked by an explosion of life. The air is filled with birdsong, flowers are blooming, and frogs sing from ponds and wetlands. Perhaps the busiest lives in summer, though, are invertebrates. These are small animals with no internal skeletons. They include things like spiders, insects, pillbugs, mites, and snails. For simplicity’s sake, bugs. But where do these bugs …

How do plants and animals survive the winter? (Part 1)

Part 1 – Winter is dangerous! Do you ever wonder how plants and animals survive the winter? It can be a brutal time of year in seasonal climates. While we’re wrapping ourselves up in blankets or bickering over the thermostat, the world outside is going into deep-freeze. We see sparse sunlight and shortening days, plummeting temperatures, biting winds, snow, and …

How do plants and animals survive the winter? (Part 2)

Strategies and adaptations All wildlife at higher elevations or latitudes face the challenge of adapting to winter. In part 1 of this post, we explored the challenges that wildlife faces during winter. To recap quickly: Food can be scarce! Starvation or lack of energy is a major survival risk for all kinds of wildlife—plant, animal, or otherwise. It gets cold. …

Do turkeys really sleep in trees?

Rick and Morty is a hilarious sci-fi show on Adult Swim that is no stranger to scientific references. A recent episode brought up an unexpected natural history fact that left fans wondering. The climax of “Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular” presented an interesting question about turkeys. Do turkeys sleep in trees? Here’s how it came up: Let’s set the scene. …

5 Ways to Get More From Your Time Outside

The COVID-19 pandemic turned a lot of people’s lives upside down. Between losing their jobs, working from home, and needing to isolate indoors, many lost a sense of the routine. Whether they wanted to or not, people simplified their schedules and spent their time differently. Since it’s safer to socialize and gather outdoors, many people are spending more time outside …

Are daddy long-legs venomous?

It’s a surprisingly common “nature fact” that I hear from people of all ages. A spindly spider-like invertebrate is trundling along a log and someone says, “Did you know that daddy long-legs have the deadliest venom in the world, but their mouthparts can’t get through human skin?”Everywhere that I’ve heard it, it’s always about the same. These weird bugs would …

5 Essential Outdoor Apps for Beginning Nature-lovers

Smartphone apps offer a variety of fantastic resources for getting more from your time outside. The right outdoor apps can bring huge amounts of information right to your fingertips. Some might help you plan a hike or stay oriented, while others can help solve the mystery of that weird bug your friend just found. As with anything else, there are …

What do baby crows look like?

Pictures of a “baby crow” have been all over Pinterest and Reddit for a couple of years now, winning hearts with their poofy goth aesthetic. Notably not a single nature account is involved in all the sharing, and a few have specifically highlighted that something’s wrong here. You guessed it: this isn’t what a baby crows look like at all. …

Get to know the American robin

The American Robin is one of the most widespread and familiar American birds. Known for their energy, cheeriness, and musical voice, they’ve got more than a few theme songs. But that’s not their only claim to fame. The American Robin is the state bird of Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Michigan, which gives some idea of their wide distribution. You’ll see robins …