Tag Archives: natural history


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Golden-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia atricapilla) winter along the Pacific Coast and spend summers on the tundra and in shrublands from British Columbia to Alaska. Even though we are located further inland, their bright yellow heads brighten our winter landscape. Soon they … Continue reading

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Checkerspot Caterpillar

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In April while Leonard and I were hiking the Wapama Falls Trail at Yosemite National Park (California), I noticed an interesting caterpillar. The caterpillar had black and white longitudinal markings and rows of short, black spines on an orange base. … Continue reading

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Aspen Clones

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Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) reproduces both by seeds and root sprouts. This Willow Family (Salicaceae) member is dioecious, having male and female flowers on different plants. These unisexual, densely clustered, hairy, pendant catkins produce capsules, fruits that split open at … Continue reading

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Quaking Aspen

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Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is the most widely distributed tree in North America. It ranges from Atlantic to Pacific, from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico. In western North America quaking aspen becomes more and more confined to high-mountain habitats … Continue reading

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Earliest Ever

It was cold and drizzly this morning when Leonard and I went on our daily hike. We could hear coyotes singing on the nearby butte and several formations of swans flew overhead. Before long the sun peeked out revealing a … Continue reading

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Many birds have powerful muscles for closing their bills. These “clasping” muscles assist birds in grabbing, crushing and breaking seeds and other foods. In contrast, some birds, for example, blackbirds and starlings, have the ability to forcibly open their bill … Continue reading

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Immature Cooper’s Hawk

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Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperi) are generally considered raptors of mature forests, open woodlands and wood edges. However, as extremely adaptive and resilient birds, they now demonstrate the greatest flexibility in range of ecosystems and choice of nesting habitats of the … Continue reading

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