How can nature improve your health?

For many people, nature helps us slow down and escape the pace and stress of our lives. For others, it’s an opportunity for mountain biking, backpacking, climbing, or birdwatching. Beyond that, an increasing number of people are going outside based on their doctor’s orders. In other words, they’re spending time in nature to benefit their health. Although this may sound …

What is a lichen?

Sometimes of the coolest things in nature are small and hard to notice. Using a magnifying glass, we get a window into entire micro-worlds in our back yards or on a bouldering cliff. In this Wildlife Spotlight post, I want to introduce you to an amazing organism that you have seen before if you’ve ever been outside. But, chances are …

How to choose your first binoculars

This post contains affiliate links. If you make an online purchase using a link from this site, the vendor provides a small commission which I use to support the blog (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for your support! For me, choosing my first pair of binoculars was a major first step in my naturalist journey. They opened up a …

How do bugs stick to walls?

Bugs, and invertebrates in general, have all sorts of superpowers. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a great example of our cultural appreciation for invertebrates’ incredible abilities. Among other things, your friendly neighborhood super-hero can climb walls, stick to ceilings, and scale buildings by sticking to glass windows. Although Peter Parker wows us in theaters, we’re less happy to watch a cockroach skitter …

Why do birds sing in the morning?

Trying to sleep in on a weekend morning in early June, I was awakened by my neighbors. It wasn’t a loud phone call, a.m. dance party or super-loud footsteps upstairs. In fact, it wasn’t even my human neighbors. A Brown thrasher, American robin, and Northern mockingbird had started singing their little hearts out. Looking out the window, I noticed that …

How long do butterflies live?

One of the most pleasant parts of spring and summer is the arrival of butterflies. These colorful, lively, harmless insects tend to delight people and symbolize natural beauty. Like the sound of birdsong, butterflies put people at ease and give us a sense of peace in the outdoors. Many people who garden for wildlife are specifically interested in butterflies. Beyond …

How can I attract hummingbirds to my yard?

Hummingbirds are no-doubt one of the most delightful groups of birds in the Western hemisphere. They’re fast, energetic, spunky, and fly like insects, achieving feats that most birds cannot. In many ways, hummingbirds also symbolize an idyllic garden scene, hovering their way from flower to flower. I tend to get one particular question when hummingbirds migrate back through North America …

Why are sloths so slow?

Sloths are increasingly receiving much-deserved attention and love from animal lovers across the internet. Their odd brand of cuteness, peaceful lifestyles, and exceedingly leafy diets seem to have won many hearts. Sloths are getting a lot of attention, from Youtube channels to types of Pokémon. And sloths need all of the attention that they can get! Two of the six …

Why are invasive species a problem?

In early spring, wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) vines and honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) bushes bloom fragrantly all over North America. The plants are abundantly green, and their elegant blossoms pour their perfume out into the warming air. It’s delightful, even magical, but any ecologist or naturalist will tell you it’s a bad sign for the environment. These plant species, introduced to North …