The Outside Story Archive

  • Time Travel in a Peat Bog thumbnail

    Time Travel in a Peat Bog

    by Declan McCabe | March 27th 2017
    Gutter pipes full of soggy peat show up on the bench by my office each March.  This means one thing: my colleague Peter Hope’s Saint… Read More »

  • Beaver Bird: The Adaptable Hooded Merganser thumbnail

    Beaver Bird: The Adaptable Hooded Merganser

    by Michael J. Caduto | March 20th 2017
    Imagine ten nearly round white eggs snug in a hollow tree, lined with soft feathers plucked from the mother’s breast. The hen carefully tends the… Read More »

  • Some Early Research on Climate Change and Soil thumbnail

    Some Early Research on Climate Change and Soil

    by Rachel Sargent | March 13th 2017
    For many of us, winter in the Northeast means cold temperatures and piles of snow, drifting through forests and across fields. It’s hard to imagine… Read More »

  • Foxes Active in Late Winter thumbnail

    Foxes Active in Late Winter

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | March 6th 2017
    The first time I saw the fox last February, I did a double take. It was late morning when I glanced out the window on… Read More »

  • Winter Bird Rehab thumbnail

    Winter Bird Rehab

    by Leah Burdick | February 27th 2017
    An injured barred owl sat in the back seat of a four-door sedan, staring balefully out the window at its rescuer. “I saw him on… Read More »

  • Snow Buntings: Nomads from the North thumbnail

    Snow Buntings: Nomads from the North

    by Susan Shea | February 20th 2017
    Driving to town on a winter day, I occasionally see flocks of white birds where the wind sweeps across fields, blowing snow across the road… Read More »

  • The Curious Case of the Cute “Face” Crane Fly thumbnail

    The Curious Case of the Cute “Face” Crane Fly

    by Declan McCabe | February 13th 2017
    An email chirped in my inbox; “Check out the cute face on this insect we found.” I opened the attachment (yes, from a reliable source).… Read More »

  • All About Antlers thumbnail

    All About Antlers

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | February 6th 2017
    A few autumns ago, one of the frequent visitors to our gone-wild apple orchard was a lopsided, one-point buck. We often see does and young,… Read More »

  • Bark in Winter thumbnail

    Bark in Winter

    by Joe Rankin | January 30th 2017
    It’s winter. Hardwood trees are bare. But that doesn’t mean the woods are bereft of interest. Winter, when sunlight slants in, is the time when… Read More »

  • Mink in the Middle thumbnail

    Mink in the Middle

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | January 23rd 2017
    If the river otter is the most aquatic member of the mustelid family, and weasels represent the terrestrial branch of the clan, the American mink… Read More »

  • 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 »