Wildlife Spotlight takes a deep dive into individual species or groups of living things you’ll encounter outdoors. Here you’ll find cool facts about exciting wildlife, from wildflowers and grasshoppers to tigers, mushrooms, and whale sharks, and all that falls between.

 

Do you have a species or group you’d love to learn more about? Let me know on the contact page!

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 …

The truth about opossums

In this Wildlife Spotlight post, I’d like to put in a good word for an animal that people see all the time but tend to misjudge: the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). These cat-sized, fuzzy, long-whiskered beasts tend to have a polarizing effect on people. Everyone seems to think they’re either hideous or adorable. They have a reputation for being dim-witted, …

Amazing facts about water striders

The insect world is filled with weird and impressive animals with under-appreciated abilities. Since they’re so small and short-lived, we often fail to notice their miraculous feats and fascinating lifestyles. This means that we end up missing plenty of true natural wonders. Water striders are a great example. While biblical accounts of walking on water are considered divine miracles, we …

What is a Kinkajou?

I recently had my first encounter with the animal celebrity of this week’s Wildlife Spotlight, the kinkajou (Potos flavus). During a visit to Costa Rica last month, some friends and I stayed up chatting long after sunset. We were savoring a cool evening after the swelteringly hot days of the dry season in Guanacaste. “Something’s moving in the trees!” my …

Catkins: When Trees Make You Sneeze

Observing nature is a fantastic way to track the seasons. After a long winter, most people are eager for signs of spring. We may find ourselves looking for the first robin in our back yard, or for trees to start leafing out. In today’s Wildlife Spotlight, I’m focusing on a poorly known but very early sign of winter’s end: catkins. …

Everything you need to know about 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 …