It’s Bluebird Time: Update 3.21.17

It is nesting season! We have six bluebird nest boxes here at the Museum. I’ve moved four of the boxes to more favorable locations due to future construction or plant succession at the previous sites. Here’s where the nest boxes are currently located: As it was last year, the Cow Pasture nest box remains where it had been, in the meadow near the Train Tunnel. The Sailboat Pond nest box has been moved to a service road on the backRead more

Cold Weather Snake

The sharp eye of Animal Keeper Katie caught sight of a black rat snake clinging to a Carolina maple tree trunk in Catch the Wind on Wednesday (3/15/17). It’s not unusual to spot a rat snake here on campus, they’re a common sight. What’s unusual is that the temperature was in the mid-thirties at the time. It’s tempting to say this snake was caught out in the cold unexpectedly. After all, the entire month of February here in the CarolinasRead more

End of the Line: Part 1

Recently, I was sent an email by a coworker which included a link to “a gorgeous poster that contains every single bird you’ll see in North America.” It begged a click. It was indeed an impressive poster, bright, colorful, and many, many species. The illustrations were a bit stylized—if you weren’t already familiar with the birds depicted you may not be able to make an identification of a particular species from the rendered images – but it was an attractiveRead more


With the warmer than usual weather, flowers are blooming early, butterflies are fluttering, and reptiles and amphibs are making premature appearances. I saw the first of the season northern water snake on February 25 (early by a few weeks) and several brown snakes crossing the path at different locations.   With the increased herpetological activity, our resident red-shouldered hawks have been on the hunt. Red shoulders eat frogs and snakes. February 25 brought with it many basking yellow-bellied sliders. MoreRead more

Spring has Sprung!

If you needed more proof, other than the 60 and 70 (even 80) degree weather we’ve been having, that spring has come early, here’s more evidence to the affirmative. I’ve been hearing spring peepers, upland chorus frogs, pickerel frogs, cricket frogs, and even American toads calling. And, I’ve been seeing a handful of species of butterfly fluttering about, including question mark, spring azure, American snout, sleepy orange, and falcate orangetip. The peepers and chorus frogs don’t surprise me. A couple of nightsRead more

News Flash from the Red Wolf Enclosure!

I had just walked up to the Red Wolf Enclosure Overlook when I noticed the male wolf approach and sniff the female’s rear quarters. I quickly fumbled for my camera. The camera was in its case strapped to my belt. The zipper on the case had lost its pull-tab—tough to get the case open. This, and building anxiety at my not moving fast enough, delayed my ability to get in the first few shots of the event. For the pastRead more

February Blooms

As happens each February, hazel alder is in bloom here at the Museum. Hazel alder (Alnus serrulata) is a small tree or large shrub which grows along ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers throughout the state. It’s deciduous, which as you know, means it loses its leaves each fall. The male catkins and female flower buds appear in fall. They bloom in early spring before the alder’s leaves appear. February is spring for this plant here in piedmont North Carolina. TheRead more

Face of Contentment

The barred owl pictured here was just feet from the main path in Explore the Wild. The bird was being harassed by crows, but upon my arrival the corvids retreated leaving the owl in quiet solitude. The owl remained on its perch most of the day looking, as owls often do, peaceful, content, and wise.Read more

Quiet Winter

It’s February, and so far this winter we’ve skated by with very few cold days—no ice storms, only one brief snow, and minimal frigid NW winds. That could change at any time, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the mild fifty, sixty, and yes, even seventy degree weather. The bird feeders have seen steady, but not heavy, use. The local chickadees, titmice, cardinals, nuthatches, and others have been regular customers at the feeders at Bird Viewing, but I’ve not seen anyRead more

Winter News

The temperatures have taken a nose dive. It’s a good twenty degrees colder today than it was yesterday—and will remain so for the next week or more. The high today will be near 50º which is average for this time of year. If you lived up north, close to the Canadian border, that’d be a shirtsleeve day for sure. But we’re here in North Carolina, and after a week or more of 60’s and 70’s (with lows around fifty), itRead more