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Winging It in the Heat

Wild birds have adapted, but could still use our help during extreme heat
The outside thermometer is launching into the red zone this week, and like us, our wildlife will be seeking respite. We know that heat can have concerning health impacts, but not just for us upright, two-leggeds.

The Barred Owls are Coming

The owl cousin threatening to eat the spotted owl out of its house and home
First it was rumors, "The Barred owls are coming, the Barred owls are coming..." Next, it was the dire warnings that the barred owls were going to either chase all the Northern spotted owl out of the Northwest, or breed with them and bring forth a whole new sub-species called, "Sparred owls."

Oh, the Poor Old Porcupine

Tales of the local "porky," a misunderstood creature of the east Cascades
Our poor old porcupines have been in man's gun sights since the first pioneer deemed it a pest. The porcupine is, unfortunately, a tree-eating mammal and Man's greed said, "That thing has gotta go!"

All Hail the Mighty Beaver

North America's largest living native rodents will improve ecosystems, if we let them
It's no wonder Oregon is known as The Beaver State. Aside from the coyote and wolf, no other mammal—including the cow—has figured so dramatically in the commercial history of our state as the North American Beaver.

Backyard Badgers and Ground Squirrels are Fair Game, but They Shouldn't Be

Open season on these 'pests' harms ecosystems
You've seen them. They're big furry critters about the size of a bear cub that sort of roll over the surface of the earth as they rush from point "A" to point "B." If you get too close to them — as you investigate what that blur of fur was that scuttled behind the sagebrush — you'll hear a deep grumble, and if you're quick, you'll also see a lot of soil flying and that clump of fur vanish underground.

Butterflies of Central Oregon and Their Host Plants

Five species to watch for, and where to find them
Butterflies flitting about the forest, meadow, or your yard are a sure sign of summer in Central Oregon. Warmer weather and blooming flowers bring out a wide variety of these amazing, delicate creatures, making them easy to spot and watch.

Let's Talk About Stares

The European starling and its ability to invade
Before we get into the havoc alien starlings, or stares, are causing here in the U.S., I have to comment on the nutty title for this piece. At one time, way back in the mid-1800s, when Shakespeare was prominent in the intellectual world, the European starling, Sturnis vulgaris, was known in Ireland as the stare.

Going Batty Near Bend

Banding bats, a nasty poison and other memories from our resident naturalist
If you haven't spent time with bats, you've missed out knowing some very lovely and helpful animals that share this beautiful old Earth with us...our Home away from Home. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Central Oregon's bats way back in the early '50s when I met up with one of our wonderful epidemiologists (scientists who keep an eye on diseases transmitted to humans through wildlife).

Pesticides are Killing Us

Every day we learn about the dangers of using chemicals and causing insects to vanish from the Earth
I'm not an alarmist, but I am a naturalist who has been a guest in this world we call home for nigh into 94 years. When I was a kid on the farm in West Haven, Connecticut, my grandfather swore by a chemical named, "Black Leaf 40," a so-called "safe" biodegradable agricultural insecticide used around the world since the 1800s.

Cue the May Flowers

What's in bloom in the high desert and beyond this season
Longer days, warmer temperatures, and puffy white clouds mean that spring is finally here in the high desert. As the season progresses, so do our local wildflowers moving from tiny, early bloomers to larger, bolder blooms.

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