All Is As It Should Be

It is now May. Insects that we haven’t seen for months are back among us. Reptiles and amphibians are active as if winter had never happened. Many birds that have been far away in Central and South America have returned to the Museum grounds to make nests and raise families. It’s as if they never left. Keep your eyes and ears open for these creatures as you walk the paths and trails here at the Museum. I’ve gathered more thanRead more

Fall Goings On

Top Photo: Bald-faced hornet hive. It’s been drizzling, raining, and downright pouring over the past week or more here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. But, life goes on, herons gotta eat, snakes too, and wasps have to keep building additions to their hives as their numbers increase, you can’t stop progress. If, over the last week or so, you’ve happened to make it out past Hideaway Woods, our new outdoor playscape full of tree houses, woodland stream, nature trails, stick built “castles” and hammocks hungRead more

Of Note

On the 81 degree day of Tuesday, March 17, a bald eagle was spotted (thanks to Al – Facilities) soaring over Catch the Wind. Thanks to a few Museum guests, I spotted the first of the season (for me) northern water snake. And, towards the end of the day, a raccoon was foraging along the path in Explore the Wild.         By the way, if you happen to see a raccoon here at the Museum which is close toRead more

Spring Happenings

Happenings over the past few weeks have been a bit overwhelming. Insects that have been held back from emergence by cooler than normal temperatures are doing so now, snakes and other reptiles have been performing their springtime rituals, neotropical migrants are moving through, and local nesters are doing just that, nesting. Some have already fledged their first broods. It’s been difficult for me to keep up with all of the biological happenings in terms of posting them to this Journal. That beingRead more

We have much to do before winter

With each passing cold front the temperatures are a little cooler, the humidity a little dryer, and winter a little closer. There’s plenty going on outside during this transitional time of year when we make the shift from summer to winter. It’s time to prepare for what’s to come and the birds, mammals, and insects are doing just that. As the cicadas wind down so too the activities of the Cicada Killer. Hopefully their burrows are stocked with cicadas forRead more


I see tree frogs nearly every day in and around the Museum’s Wetlands. It’s difficult to not take photos of them, they’re so attractive. After photographing one such tree frog, a green tree frog, I noticed a line of small marks on its nape, just behind the head. The marks looked like a series of small tears in the frog’s skin. What could have caused these tiny cuts or tears in the frog’s skin? I don’t know for sure, butRead more

Northern Water Snake vs Copperhead

It’s almost a daily occurrence, I’d be watching a water snake coiled up and snoozing in the grass on the north side of the Wetlands, point the snake out to someone passing by and they’d say, “That looks like a Copperhead,” or, “Is that a moccasin, cottonmouth?” or most often, “Is it poisonous?” The answer to that statement and those questions is always no. In explaining my no response, last question first, no snake in our area is poisonous. It’s an honestRead more

Spring at the Museum?

It’s December not April. What’s going on with the wildlife here at the Museum. Ranger Lew saw a Northern Water Snake on Saturday (12/3). Spring Peepers were calling and Yellow-bellied Sliders were out basking in the near 70 degree air of yesterday afternoon (12/6). Neither peepers or basking Turtles are unusual during this time of year though, a few days of warm temps is often enough to bring either of those herps out of hiding, even in the dead ofRead more

Reptilian Rescue

Spring is a the time when young snakes, hatched or born last year, are seen moving about the unfamiliar landscape on their way to their summer haunts, wherever that may be. Sometimes, they need a little help in getting there. I received a call on my radio from Animal Keeper Erin Brown about one such sidetracked snake. This young snake wiggled into the Black Bear House, the bear’s nighttime quarters. It was a Northern Water Snake. Erin deftly captured theRead more