Local Nature

Local Nature: Here Comes the Coyote

“Beep, Beep!” As children, we would imitate the sound of the cartoon Road Runner, joining in utter delight as the feathered hero once again foiled the often-elaborate plans for its capture by the bird’s arch-enemy, Wile E. Coyote. And the more technologically advanced the scheme to catch Road Runner, and the more awful the outcome …

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Local Nature: Muskrateer

Hands-down, the favorite TV show for kids growing up in a previous era was The Mickey Mouse Club. The spell those creatures with big ears cast over children continues to this day, now as the cartoon characters draw masses of children to the vast Disney empire. But what if Uncle Walt had had a different …

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Local Nature: Bats and COVID

For those of us untuned to the natural world, our first brush with bats may well have come via Halloween costumes or horror films featuring Count Dracula, Transylvania’s most infamous castle owner. The last three years of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed all that. Those who follow popular accounts of the fieldwork of epidemiologists and …

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Local Nature: Brown Bats, Big and Small

In the daytime, Cabin John’s tree-lined streets belong to adults in their cars and service trucks, kids on their bikes, and dog walkers or other pedestrians. But after dark, other mammals join the night traffic. Here on 78th St., one can see strolling white-tailed deer heading for the neighbor’s Hosta. At midnight, a clever fox …

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Local Nature: A Summer of Bats

Halloween comes early to Cabin John: for the summer months the next three columns will focus on some of the most fascinating animals to inhabit our night skies.  Welcome to the world of bats. For some readers, this will be your first introduction to these remarkable creatures, among the most highly specialized of vertebrates. For …

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Local Nature: Nighthawks

Ask an art major what comes to mind when they hear the word “Nighthawks,” and the response is immediate: the name of an iconic Edward Hopper canvas, painted in 1942. The oil on canvas features three customers and a server behind the counter of a well-lit diner, late at night, viewed through the restaurant’s large …

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Local Nature: Peeps of Spring

What is nature’s signal that spring is here? To the gardener, pink clouds of cherry blossoms and magnolias floating above beds of bright tulips and daffodils announce the start of the season. For naturalists, it is sound that takes precedence over the visual. Our backyard Northern Cardinal has brightened his chirping song, and the Carolina …

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