What’s the difference between hawks and eagles?

The difference between hawks and eagles comes up often when I take people birding. Dazzled by some large bird of prey, we’ll admire it through our binoculars for a while. Sooner or later, someone asks, “”well, is that a hawk or an eagle?” or, when I answer, they ask “well how did you know that?” As you’ll see, it’s not …

Why do bugs like light?

Many interesting bugs are night-flying or nocturnal, becoming active after dusk. If you’ve ever left a porch light on or had a campfire in the summer, you also know that nighttime bugs are attracted to light. Expressions like “like a moth to the flame” show that people have seen this happen for a long time. But why do bugs like …

What are galls?

In late Summer and Fall, you may find strange shapes on the stems of plants or tree leaves. These odd growths come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and sometimes even colors. Upon closer inspection, what you might think are fungi or insect pupa appear to be somehow part of the plant itself. You’re looking at galls! These bizarre plant …

Why do we need forests?

Forests are perhaps the most iconic and recognized biome on Earth. When most people hear the word nature, a forest is what comes to mind. And with good reason! Forests make up around 1/3 of all the land on Earth. Meanwhile, all of those trees are the foundation of many land-based food chains. At the same time, people all over …

9 wild facts about milkweeds

If you’ve done any research into wildflowers or wild gardening, you’ve probably heard about milkweeds. These pretty and widespread wildflowers are super important for native biodiversity and can attract a lot of fascinating pollinators. You can find milkweeds throughout most of North and South America as well as part of Africa. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 70 …

How does being outdoors relieve stress?

If you’ve read other posts from my Nature and Health mini-series, you know that the number of ways that nature improves our health is staggering. Spending time in natural spaces benefits us in so many ways it can be hard to keep track of them all. In this post, I’d like to expand upon one especially valuable benefit of going …