Catalpa Worms

I’d been waiting for them to appear since the first leaves of the catalpa tree began to sprout earlier in the season. I finally noticed their handiwork on the 18th of June. The large, long-stalked, heart-shaped leaves of the tree were becoming mere skeletons (top photo, 6/18). When I discovered the caterpillars they were about 1/2” long and feeding gregariously with their siblings. They had the potential of reaching 3” in length. They were the larvae of the catalpa sphinxRead more

Nest Box Update 7.9.19

There are now, as there was last week, three active nests. Two have eggs and one is occupied by four nearly ready to fledge bluebirds. The house wren nest at the Cow Pasture still has five eggs. I heard an adult calling in the nearby brush as I approached the nest box so it’s possible the eggs are being incubated. I may have come along as the adult was taking a break from that chore.   The Explore the WildRead more

Nest Box Update 7.2.19

There are now three active nests. One nest is full of bluebird nestlings, one with house wren eggs, and another with a fresh bluebird nest. The nest at the Cow Pasture has five house wren eggs. This is the second brood for this nest box as it has already fledged five house wrens. The Explore the Wild and Into the Mist nest boxes are empty. The nest box on the east side of the parking deck has twigs placed inRead more

Red Shoulders and Red Tails

As I walked past the last shrub in the line of hazel alders and into the clearing I was a bit startled by a red-shouldered hawk no more than four feet distance from me, at eye level. The hawk seemed just as surprised as I as we stared wide-eyed at one another on the north edge of the wetland. The hawk’s stare briefly intensified, then relaxed. I slowly backed up so as not to force the hawk to flight. ItRead more

Nest Box Update 6.25.19

A new nest and four new nestlings are the stories of the day. After discovering last week that the house wrens that had occupied the nest box at the Cow Pasture had fledged, I tossed the old nest, cleaned the inside of the box, and placed a new berry basket where the old one had been. When I opened the box this week it had a completely new house wren nest inside. I was surprised to see the new nest.Read more

Nest Box Update 6.18.19

One bunch of nestlings has fledged while another nest still has four unhatched bluebirds eggs. An empty nest has had nesting material place within. The five house wrens at the Cow Pasture nest box have all fledged. I could hear the birds off in the woods as I went about with my nest box inspections this morning. The Explore the Wild and Into the Mist nest boxes are both empty. For the past five to six weeks the nest boxRead more

What’s Happening in the Wild

Above, during a downpour, northern rough-winged swallows take a break from swirling, diving and capturing airborne insects over the wetlands. If, while visiting the museum you park at the parking deck, stop and have a look at the flowers blooming along the path leading to the deck, you may see some interesting insects, including several species of butterfly. Over the past week I’ve been seeing dogbane beetles on their namesake plant along the path of the outdoor loop through ExploreRead more

Nest Box Update 6.11.19

We have two active nest out of six. One is full of fledgling size wrens the other bluebird eggs. A wren flew from the nest box in the Cow Pasture as I approached the box. It settled on the ground a dozen feet or so from the nest box and made its way towards a group of nearby shrubs. It’s nest mates sat tight as I opened the box’s side door and photographed them. I count five nestlings in theRead more

Wrens and Drums, Hawks and Grackles

Well known for building their nests in odd or even foolish locations, we here at the Museum of Life and Science have again offered a Carolina wren the opportunity of raising a brood in one of our air canons in Catch the Wind. I say again, because they nested successfully in one of the canons at the Vapor Rings Exhibit in Catch the Wind last year. I evicted them earlier in the season as one of the wrens began buildingRead more