Blue feathers against blue skies

This summer has been a blur. I really can’t believe it’s June. Let alone the middle of June. One of my techs is done working for me in the beginning of July, and it hit me today that that’s only two weeks away. It blows my mind. However, this summer has certainly been a good…

Another year gone

If someone had told me eight years ago that I would start dating my future husband in a few hours, I would have thought they were crazy. If someone had told me four years ago that I would become totally fascinated with birds, I would have been skeptical to say the least. If someone had told…

Cold nights and tiny owls

Every owl banding season finds me praying for cold weather and north winds. That’s not something I would typically say. I am pretty thoroughly a child of summer. I love to be able to walk outside in a t-shirt and shorts and enjoy the balmy nighttime breeze on my skin. However, October finds me bundling…

Backyard birdscaping part 1: feeding the wild things

One of the most common reactions I get when people hear I study birds are questions about how to get birds to come to their yards. They’ll tell me they have seed out, or a nest box, or hummingbird feeders, but just aren’t getting the visitation rates they want. What most of these people don’t…

Schall’s Gap Trail

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post. First semester of grad school and all. Anyway, last weekend I finally got out for a short hike. The weather was beyond lovely last week, low humidity and in the 70s. Just perfect. On Labor Day, I had originally wanted to check out Black Moshannon State…

Weekend in the woods: Musser Gap

On this humid Saturday, I didn’t have to venture far from home for my hike. My destination was just a few miles from State College in Rothrock State Forest. It included approximately five miles of hiking, two very different vistas, and a lot of climbing. My journey started at the Musser Gap trailhead. Honestly, I…

Let the sun shine through

On this stormy Saturday I did something I haven’t done in several years: tried a new art form. It’s not completely new since I did it in class as a freshman in high school, but since that was many years ago I’m counting it. The medium of the day? Stained glass. Funnily enough, one of the…

Nature and the city: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Any history buff who hears the words “Cuyahoga River” will automatically think of the infamous day in 1969 when the river caught fire. Yes, you read that correctly. An oil slick on the top of the water was ignited, causing the river to burn and damage nearby structures. Today, however, you would never think the…

America’s crown jewels

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – John Muir. It’s only been a year since my first visit to the Rockies, but the mountains started calling long before that. Ever since I was a young child, I wanted to go out west. I loved watching the Discovery Channel and Travel Channel, and National Geographic…

Weekend in the woods: Greenwood Furnace

After my harder than average hike last weekend, I decided to take it easy this time and head out to a state park I had heard about called Greenwood Furnace. Nestled in the heart of Rothrock State Forest, this park offers hiking trails, a small sand beach, and several historical features. As I said, I…

Weekend in the woods: Little Flat Tower

Yesterday I took on the most challenging hike I’ve done so far. It was approximately 3 miles, maybe a little longer with all the switchbacks. It took me from Galbraith Gap up about 1,000ft of elevation to the Little Flat Tower, an old fire tower of the top of Tussey Ridge. One nice thing about…

A Bluebird’s Story

I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about birds is that just because they can fly, they’re “free”. In reality, it’s hard to be a bird. In the winter, they either brave the cold or fly thousands of miles to somewhere warmer, where they’ll have to compete with all the birds who had…