Natural World Treasures | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Natural World Treasures

Some of our favorite recent quotes from Naturalist Jim Anderson

Last week we printed an obituary written by the family of Jim Anderson, who passed Sept. 22 after a long life filled with caring about the natural world—and writing about it, too.

While Anderson's absence will be felt far beyond the pages of this newspaper, where he regularly penned columns for "Natural World," it is in this column that many readers got the best glimpse of what he stood for. Anderson's regular musings on everything from the Jerusalem Cricket to endangered monarchs to keeping house cats away from birds will live on at our website,, but we've also compiled some of his best quotes here, on topics that recurred over the 24+ years of "Natural World."

Natural World Treasures
Courtesy Jim Anderson
Back in the old days, "Natural World" columnist Jim Anderson with one of his fine, feathered friends, "Owl."

On Bushtits
"Those Bushtits in Sue's photo, pigging out at our suet feeder, always bring the thrill of feeding wild birds alive in our souls. Don't know about you guys, but if you're having a slow and not-so-fun day, Bushtits will bring joy into your life!" "Feeding Our Feathered Friends," Dec. 16, 2021

On Hummingbirds
"Let's face it, hummingbirds can get hooked on feeders, just like humans on whiskey. They see the red on a feeder which attracts them to come look at the device, then they spy the fake flower hole and bingo! — they're into it and hooked." "Hummingbirds in Winter—What Do We Do?" Nov. 25, 2021

On Sage-Grouse
"My first adventure with sage-grouse was in the early '50s when my old pal, Ed Park, and I took newcomer birders from Great Britain, Alan and Sheila Baldridge, to see their first sage grouse in America. We had them pitch their tent overnight on Reub Long's hay field/strutting ground at Ft. Rock. In the morning our native sage-grouse were right in the Baldridge's front yard." "It's Sage-Grouse Hunting Season," Sept. 17, 2020

On the North American Beaver
"Like it or not, everyone who uses water is unknowingly depending on the dam-building talents of our North American Beaver. Without question, we have the industrious beaver to thank for helping keep the water available for us to drink, cook with, flush our toilets with, irrigate with, and use as we will in hundreds of other ways." "Beavers, Our Eager Aquifer Engineers," July 16, 2020

On Birds and Bats... and Cats
"There's nothing like having a bluebird nesting box in your backyard. If you have an outdoor cat, put a Bird-be-safe collar on it so it doesn't target the birds. A swallow nesting box will be a welcome asset if you live near a mosquito-producing body of water. You can also put up a bat shelter and have bats fluttering about at night, helping with the mosquito reduction business." "Homes for Birds and Bats," Feb. 27, 2020

On "Owl," Jim's feathered foster son
"I was in a pickle, but the Osterizer blender was sitting right there on the counter, so I tossed the gopher in, put the cover on and hit the switch. Ker-zamm! Gopher guts, bones and hide were splattered all over the inside of the jar.

"...I removed the cover, and with my finger scraped off some guts, meat and bone and offered it to the little tennis ball. The minute the goop got in the owl's mouth it reached for more, and in a few minutes everything I could scrape off was in the owl." "My Feathered Foster Son," Dec. 19, 2019

On Cats... Again
"Dear readers, cats killing birds and other native wildlife has—for years and years—been the bane of my existence. Not only do the incredible numbers of dead birds and other native wildlife bother me, but it is also the business of domestic cats bringing their victims into the house that worries me no end." "At Last!" Aug. 22, 2019

On Pandora Moths and other Edible Creatures
"This reminds me of the time I spent living with an Aboriginal family on a billabong near Darwin, Australia, years ago. My host's 14-year-old daughter, Daphne, teased me as she was chomping down on the roasted wood-boring beetle larvae she'd dug out of a eucalyptus. I still get a funny feeling in my tummy thinking back on those interesting times." "Of Pandoras and Other Moths," July 25, 2019

On the Jerusalem Cricket
"Of all the insects that live in, under, over and on Central Oregon, none can catch a person's eye and generate more fear, questions, admiration, revulsion and other human emotions like that of Stenopelmatus fuscus, the Jerusalem Cricket, AKA:

· Earth baby
· cara de niño (Spanish for "child's face")
· wó see ts'inii (Navajo for "skull insect")
· old bald-headed man
· potato bugs
· skull bug
· What in the $#%# is that!?" "Nina De La Tierra/Child Of The Earth: The Mystery Of The Jerusalem Cricket," Aug. 13, 2009

...Well, that was fun. With so many years of Anderson's treasures to mine through, we've barely scratched the surface. We may have to do this again!

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. You can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis.
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