Nature Blog

Occasional observations of birds, wildflowers, native animals, and other life of the earth.

Northern Flicker

Flicker's Hidden Gold

How nature half hides some of her beauty. Like the underside of the flicker's tail, a wink of molten gold. Its hard to see it when the bird is in repose. Like a fancy petticoat, designed to be alluring and yet demurly out of sight. Dec. 7 , 2021

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse Pearls

Tufted Titmouse dips beak down into the birdbath and up so quickly that pearls go flying into the air. It can grow quite trusting of humans. One reason may be that it does not migrate, so it lives its whole life in the same area. Dec. 2 , 2021

Wild Turkey hen

Wild Turkey Thanks

Wild Turkeys are native to North America. But they're good to eat, and by the early 20th Century, they had been hunted almost out of existence in North America. Now they're back, thanks to the wisdom of the wild. Nov. 25, 2021

Purple Finch

Purple Finch Warming

Purple Finches never look cold. I don't know if the color of their coat keeps them warm. It certainly warms me to see them. Here's a few of the ways they stay alive in sub freezing winter temperatures. Nov. 17, 2021



My grandmother used to push closely spaced cloves into an orange and let it dry until it became a fragrant sachet. Buttonbush seeds remind me of those cloves, the way they fit together so neatly that they form a solid sphere. Nov. 10, 2021

Ring-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck on Gold

A Ring-necked Duck swam all alone on the pond at sunrise. Why is it called Ring-necked Duck? It does have rings, but the most visible rings are not around the neck. Here is how it got its name. Oct. 26, 2021

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow at the Edge

Where I live in Iowa, we are near the northern edge of where this bird can survive the winter. An October Song Sparrow October may be weighing whether to stay or go. Such decisions draw the map of the species' range. Oct. 20, 2021

White-breasted Nuthatch

Toe of the Nuthatch

How does the White-breasted Nuthatch walk upside down like that? No doubt weighing only 2/3 of an ounce helps. Not much weight to support. Still, almost no bird can do it. Here is the nuthatch's special equipment. Oct 15, 2021

Swainson's Thrush

Virginia Creeper Berries

A Swainson's Thrush migrating north to south across North America in fall needs fuel to survive the trip. Fuel like the berries of Virginia Creeper. Some may hate it, but the birds need it. So I love it. October 14, 2021

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Redbelly Cache

I'm wondering whether the Red-bellied Woodpecker will remember where she's stashing this acorn in a hole in a snag. This is one of few woodpeckers in North America who cache food in this way. October 10, 2021