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

A Stinkhorn and a Cardinal

Top Photo: May be Phallus rubicundus. Stinkhorns are fungi. They’re often found in mulch around plantings of trees, shrubs, or flowers. Originally egg-shaped and white, the red/orange horn arises from the “egg” in the substrate and develops a slimy brownish mass near the tip. This mass is the spore bearing material called a gleba. The gleba produces a putrid smell which attracts certain insects, including green bottle flies, to the stinkhorns. The bottle flies and other insects spread the sporesRead more

Cardinals Fledge!

On April 22, I posted to this blog about a northern cardinal’s nest in a red cedar tree at the Red Wold Exhibit in Explore the Wild. I included photos of the nestlings in the post. Fours days later, the nestlings are out of the nest, they fledged on the morning of 26 April. I was able to get photos of three of the fledglings. They’re posted here for your viewing pleasure. The nest was a bit crowded for the four fast growingRead more

Kingfisher Quest

The Quest On April 16, I was inspecting the bluebird nests here at the Museum. I was not working that day but happened to be in town and didn’t want to miss any exciting happenings inside the nest boxes, so I took a peek. As I crossed the main parking lot I heard the unmistakable rattle of a kingfisher overhead. I looked up. There, streaking through the blue sky were three kingfishers. The birds seemed on a direct course for EllerbeRead more

Squirrel wounds

The squirrel above was at the bird feeders. The wound, which appears to be rather fresh, didn’t seem to bother the squirrel as it went about feeding. But I suppose that there’s not much the squirrel could do even if it did bother the varmint except lick the wound. I guess the question is, how did the squirrel get the injury? If it were earlier in the year I might suggest that it was a warble that the squirrel keptRead more


I’ve seen flycatchers here at the Museum before but except for the Eastern Phoebes and Great-crested Flycatchers that nest here every year, they were passing migrants. What I saw last Saturday was a group of what I think were two or three empidonax flycatchers. “Whoa, what’s an empidonax flycatcher?” Empidonax flycatchers (empids) are a group of rather small birds with brown-green plumage, light colored eye rings, and whitish wing bars that are often difficult to tell apart except by voiceRead more

Catbird Defends Nest

The urgent, squeaky cries of a catbird in the willows off to my right could be one of two things, a dispute between two rival male catbirds or a nearby predator (more likely). Since there were a couple of cardinals and at least one towhee involved with the squawking and carrying on, it could only be one of those things, a predator was nearby. The intruder was either in the trees or just below the birds and the birds were mobbingRead more