Top Photo: Acadian flycatcher nest on Dinosaur Trail. Acadian flycatchers are common enough in our area. Walk a mile or two along a local watercourse in spring and early summer and you’re likely to hear their emphatic PEE-chip call at several locations along the way. They prefer rather undisturbed forest habitat and typically choose riparian sites for nesting. They nest here at the museum. From below, the nest looks a mess, too flimsy to hold the maker let alone aRead more

Bullfrog Offal

Top Photo: American bullfrog. It’s a well known fact that red-shouldered hawks take crawfish from our wetlands. Besides actually being observed eating the crawfish, the hawks leave the claws of the arthropods on the railings of the boardwalk when they’re done. The evidence is clear. Frogs are also on the menu. The hawks, though, don’t typically leave frog parts on the boardwalk as a record of their passing. Last week, I was confronted by a mystery while walking down the boardwalkRead more

Nest Box Update 7.19.22 (The Final Count)

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird nest with eggs. There has been no activity in any of our six nest boxes. Though there are partial bluebird nests in the nest boxes at Explore the Wild and the east side of the parking deck, they haven’t be tended to for over a month. Likewise, the house wren nest in the nest box on the west side of the parking deck hasn’t been touched since June. I tallied the total birds fledged for eachRead more

Nest Box Update 7.12.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. There has been no activity in either of the six nest boxes on campus. The Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, Parking Deck East and West, and Butterfly house nest boxes are all inactive. Though there is a complete house wren nest in the nest box on the west side of the parking deck, it too is inactive. We will give the nest boxes one more inspection before calling it quits for theRead more

Mid July Check-in

Top Photo: Eastern rat snake, or black rat snake, smells its way across the path in Explore the Wild. Black rat snakes are known by many different names, chicken snake, alleghany snake, pilot snake with variations on those names and more. Though it may be confusing to consider the various names of the snake, the only other snake you’d likely mistake it for is the black racer. But, racers have smooth scales, all black undersides (except for the chin andRead more


Top Photo: Male northern cardinal catching some rays on the boardwalk. While it may calm and warm the cardinal in the above photo to expose itself to the sun’s rays, research suggests that there’s more going on than just relaxing in the sun. When a bird turns its side to the sun, spreads out its flight feathers and exposes as much of its body as it can to the direct rays of the sun it may be trying to ridRead more

Nest Box Update 7.5.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. Three of our six nest boxes have nest material in them. Only one of those has been worked in the past week. A house wren has completed the long dormant nest in the nest box on the west side of the parking deck. There’s an empty nest box at the Cow pasture, no activity. Explore the Wild has been quiet since March. The Into the Mist nest box is empty. The nest inside the boxRead more

Some Outdoor Goings-on

Top Photo: Two adult red-tailed hawks silhouetted against the clouds as they soar above Butterfly House. Note that each bird is molting. The two red-tailed hawks above successfully nested on the museum grounds. They’re regular nesters. I rarely see eastern cottontails on our 84 acre campus, until this year. I’ve seen more this spring and summer than I have in perhaps the last 14 years of hiking the museum’s trails. Predator numbers must be down. Besides the red-tailed hawks above,Read more

Nest Box Update, Plus Pigeon News

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. All of the nest boxes are empty except one. The Cow Pasture nest box fledged its six bluebirds last week, to the day. The Explore the Wild nest box still has a bluebird nest within but has not been added to since March. The nest box at Into the Mist is empty. As we approached, a house wren flew from the nest box on the east side of the parking deck. Inside the box wasRead more

Frog For Lunch

Top Photo: Green heron hunts from perch in wetlands. Green herons are in attendance more than they’re seen in our wetlands. Though they occasionally give out a loud KEEYER call, they’re more often silently perched or stalking prey in the shallow water of our wetland. Here, in a series of photos, a green heron has captured a frog and attempts to dispatch its victim. It tries to turn the amphibian so as to swallow the animal head-first, while being carefulRead more