The Outside Story Archive

  • Boisterous Blue Jays Flock in Winter thumbnail

    Boisterous Blue Jays Flock in Winter

    by Susan Shea | January 16th 2017
    “Jay, jay, jay!”  Every morning last winter I awoke to the loud cries of a flock of 17 blue jays dancing around my feeder. They… Read More »

  • The Arthropods Among Us thumbnail

    The Arthropods Among Us

    by Kenrick Vezina | January 9th 2017
    Not to alarm you, but you’re surrounded. There, buzzing stupidly into the slats of your venetian blinds, is a house fly. Nearby, nestled in a… Read More »

  • On Winter Birdfeeders, Many Questions thumbnail

    On Winter Birdfeeders, Many Questions

    by Joe Rankin | January 2nd 2017
    Back in September, I put out the bird feeder. I try not to do it too early because, well...bears. My feathered friends emptied it in… Read More »

  • The Trees of Christmas Past and Future thumbnail

    The Trees of Christmas Past and Future

    by Patrick White | December 26th 2016
    You picked it out, maybe cut it down, brought it home, watered it, and decorated it. But do you know what species of tree that… Read More »

  • Carpenter Ants thumbnail

    Carpenter Ants

    by Madeline Bodin | December 19th 2016
    Mention carpenter ants, and Declan McCabe, chair of the biology department at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, thinks about the time he got a… Read More »

  • Glacier-Carved Rocks: Evidence of our Ice Age Past thumbnail

    Glacier-Carved Rocks: Evidence of our Ice Age Past

    by Ned Swanberg | December 12th 2016
    When I’m hiking, I like to watch for rock basins, sometimes as small as cupped hands, that appear along summits and ridgelines. These are “thin… Read More »

  • House Sparrows in Winter thumbnail

    House Sparrows in Winter

    by Elise Tillinghast | December 5th 2016
    House sparrows – those little brown and gray birds that flash mob the bird feeder – are common and easy to see. They’re quarrelsome, noisy,… Read More »

  • The Color of Cranberries thumbnail

    The Color of Cranberries

    by Tim Traver | November 28th 2016
    As a kid fidgeting at my grandmother’s Thanksgiving table, I often wondered, what’s the point of cranberries? She had a live-in Irish cook who insisted… Read More »

  • Water Scorpions: Underwater Assassins thumbnail

    Water Scorpions: Underwater Assassins

    by Declan McCabe | November 21st 2016
    Recently, my daughter participated in Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem solving competition devoted to ingenuity and team work. As an entomologist, I was… Read More »

  • Tamarack thumbnail

    Tamarack

    by Elise Tillinghast | November 14th 2016
    Tamarack is a tree with a number of aliases – hackmatack, eastern larch, or if you’re from northern Maine and feeling contrary, juniper. Whatever you… Read More »

  • It’s a Shell Game for Turtles thumbnail

    It’s a Shell Game for Turtles

    by Susan Shea | November 8th 2016
    Years ago, I stopped when I saw a turtle attempting to cross a high-traffic road. When I picked it up, I noticed its intricately sculpted… Read More »

  • Canada Geese – Migrant or Resident? thumbnail

    Canada Geese – Migrant or Resident?

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | November 1st 2016
    A large V of Canada geese flying noisily over my head – and traveling north, rather than south – got me wondering about the ins… Read More »

  • Heirloom Apples thumbnail

    Heirloom Apples

    by Michael J. Caduto | October 24th 2016
    As Eve so famously discovered, apples are alluring. These brightly colored orbs tempt us with crisp flesh and juicy sweetness. It’s no wonder that apples… Read More »

  • Raccoons Prepare for Winter thumbnail

    Raccoons Prepare for Winter

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | October 17th 2016
    Almost every time I checked the game camera last summer – whether it was stationed near the compost, pointed into the field, or hidden at… Read More »

  • How Do Birds Know When To Migrate? thumbnail

    How Do Birds Know When To Migrate?

    by Carolyn LoriƩ | October 11th 2016
    On the north end of my home is a nest site favored by eastern phoebes. Every year a pair shows up, sets up house, and… Read More »

  • Dry Run thumbnail

    Dry Run

    by Madeline Bodin | October 3rd 2016
    Scenes from the West’s five-year drought are striking – the cracked mud at the bottom of a dry reservoir, forests in flames. Wonder what a… Read More »

  • Fall Peepers thumbnail

    Fall Peepers

    by Michael J. Caduto | September 26th 2016
    We like to think that everything in nature has its own particular time and place. But nature is fond of throwing us curves. As a… Read More »

  • An Abundance of Caution: Wild Food and Risk thumbnail

    An Abundance of Caution: Wild Food and Risk

    by Benjamin Lord | September 19th 2016
    “I’ve got a botanical question for you,” my friend said as he came into my classroom the other day. “Is black nightshade edible?” He’d found… Read More »

  • Tobacco Hornworms: Big, Green, and in the Garden thumbnail

    Tobacco Hornworms: Big, Green, and in the Garden

    by Todd McLeish | September 12th 2016
    The big, meaty green caterpillars that many of us have been fighting to eradicate from our gardens this summer make plenty of people squirm. In… Read More »

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Flies: Non-Biting Midges thumbnail

    Cloudy with a Chance of Flies: Non-Biting Midges

    by Declan McCabe | September 4th 2016
    Clouds of tiny insects, rising and falling hypnotically along lake shores, contribute to the ambiance of warm summer evenings. My recent bike ride was interrupted… Read More »