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Outdoors

  • Where have all the grosbeaks gone?

    Probably the question I am most frequently asked by people who have been feeding birds in the area for many years is, “Where have all the grosbeaks gone?” I wish I could give them a good answer, and I also wish I could bring them back.

    First, I try to ascertain that they are referring to the evening grosbeaks because we have other grosbeaks in the area. Usually they describe them as the fairly big birds that are yellow, white and black, and used to come to feeders in droves.

  • The tale of the turkey is a wild tale

    Gobble, gobble, gobble — it is once more Turkey Day. This huge bird was common over much of the Eastern states and came west along the shrubby area of the Plains watercourses. The adult males make the gobbling sound. The females call in a single yelp, and they both make a soft (“quit, quit”) call when feeding.

  • Where have all the evening grosbeaks gone?

    Probably the question I am most frequently asked by people who have been feeding birds in the area for many years is, “Where have all the grosbeaks gone?” I wish I could give them a good answer, and I also wish I could bring them back.

    First, I try to ascertain that they are referring to the evening grosbeaks because we have other grosbeaks in the area. Usually they describe them as the fairly big birds that are yellow, white and black, and used to come to feeders in droves.

  • Keep your eyes, ears open for Christmas bird count

    The printed edition of the Christmas Bird Count for 2008, the 109th CBC, just came in lat week’s mail.

    As usual it is full of fascinating facts and bits of information. There are 59,813 participants and 661 species, plus 38 forms and 28 introduced exotics seen on the counts. Two of these were new, never seen on CBC before. They were the Jack snipe at Eugene, Ore., and the little bunting at Greater Massett, British Columbia.

  • October's fickle weather

    The circular table on the patio looks like a humongous marshmallow or a giant birthday cake. The weathermen are predicting more snow tonight. I can’t believe we have this much snow in October. It looks more like the storm and quantity of snow that we usually get in spring storms. Kind neighbors have kept my driveway plowed. Three times today!

  • Wet summer, cold snaps stole tree colors

    The last three weeks have been strange for October. It has been cold. We have had snowstorms about once a week that have kept it cold. Even when the storms have moved on and we have had blue skies and sunshine, the snow on the ground and he wind off the mountains have kept it cold — not at all the warm dry October weather that I consider normal.

  • Witches and bats and bears -- oh no!

    I am sorry to say that I made an error in my article of two weeks ago. In the article of Oct. 7, I wrote that grizzly bears “had been all but eliminated in the contiguous 48 states.” This is not true, and I apologize. I checked this information in the book “Bears of the World” by Lance Craighead, and assumed it to be up to date, for he is an authority on bears and it is a fairly recent publication. However, I had two phone calls this week telling me that the brown or grizzly bears are indeed still found in the lower 48 states.

  • There’s more to turtles than shell games

    A reader of this column recently phoned to ask me if there were any turtles in Evergreen Lake.

    Yes, indeed, I have seen turtles in Evergreen Lake. However, turtles are far more common in the rivers and ponds on the plains, mostly below 5,500 feet.

  • Whiff of garbage will bring bruins from miles away

    Snow and below-freezing temperatures tell us that winter is here, even though it’s still supposed to be fall. Shortening days are growing still shorter and will for three more months until the winter solstice is reached and the pendulum swings the other way and they begin to slowly grow longer. My husband, Bill, used to feel the same way, and we used to celebrate Dec. 22 as if it were the first day of spring and then celebrate again in March when it really was the first day of spring and the days began to get longer than the nights.

  • Evergreen Lake too congested for ospreys

    The first two days of fall brought quite a few migrating birds to Evergreen Lake. A cold front moving down out of Canada brought cold rain followed by the first snow. I am not ready for snow yet and hope we may still have some Indian summer weather.