No Time to Spare

Top Photo: A male slaty skimmer waits for flying insects to pass by. If you spend any time out in nature, you’ll no doubt see animals sitting around seemingly doing nothing. Perching, waiting, and sitting still is just part of life for many wild creatures. There’s usually a very good reason for the apparent idleness. While some dragonflies spend a good portion of their day hunting on the wing, slaty skimmers, like the one pictured above, do their hunting fromRead more

Hunting in Winter

Can you see the bird in the above photo? It’s a red-shouldered hawk. As mentioned in the previous post, Herps (reptiles and amphibians), there’s been lizard, snake, and frog activity lately. This red shoulder is hunting those creatures. It’s also keeping an eye out for any incautious bird, shrew or rodent. Looking high and low, left and right, the hawk keeps a sharp eye on it’s environment for the slightest movement, ready to pounce. After many minutes (at least anRead 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


Answers to QUIZ TIME. And here’s why. We only have a front view of this bird. The light source is filtering through from behind, not great light. The bird in the photo is a buteo, not an accipiter (Cooper’s hawk). There are three buteos in our area at this time of year, Broad-winged, Red-shouldered, and Red-tailed Hawks. They are all a different size, the broad-winged the smallest, red-tailed the largest. But there’s nothing to compare this bird to, to judge itsRead more


Can you identify the bird in the photo? You’ve probably already figured out that the bird is a hawk. Can you identify it as to species (5 points). Extra points for giving the age of the bird (5 points). Double points for naming the tree the bird is perched upon (10 points). If possible, indicate how you identified the bird. What distinguishing marks or characteristics do you see that makes this bird the species that you say it is and notRead more

Still need convincing that spring’s here?

Today! Truth is, both Lightning and Rocky are frantically licking the same treat placed on the tree by the Animals Keepers, but they had me going for a minute or two. Please read on. Ranger Rock spotted two Red-shouldered Hawks either passing an object between one another, or placing sticks on a potential nest. I’d heard the birds calling from that location just minutes before but passed it off as simply red-shouldereds doing what red-shouldereds do, making a lot ofRead more

Shoulders Return

The headline above is a bit misleading. The Red-shouldered Hawks (shoulders) never left, they just haven’t been perch-hunting here at the Museum as they had in years past. I could pretty much count of seeing one of our resident shoulders at least every other day, if not every day, perched somewhere along the Trail either in Explore the Wild or just inside the woods along the path in Catch the Wind. Although I often hear them calling from above asRead more