male and female cardinal on snowy redbud tree by David Goldstein

One Picture, So Many Questions!

Spring is such a beautiful season. Color returns to the landscape, and birdsong fills the air. Even a late dose of winter sometimes just adds to the enchantment. In April 2021, at the peak of redbud flowering, a nighttime storm…

red squirrel coming down a tree with a walnut

Pine Squirrels Love Walnuts

The chatter is unmistakable. All winter long, the woods have been full of American red squirrels, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus. According to Wikipedia, red squirrels are one of three species known as “pine squirrels,” and they are “widely distributed across North America…

rainbow over football practice at Schoolhouse Park

Athletic Field Survey Results

The Centerville-Washington Park District maintains 20 soccer game fields, 18 baseball/softball diamonds, 2 football game fields, 2 lacrosse game fields, 5 acres of lacrosse practice area, 5.5 acres of football practice area and 20 acres of soccer practice fields! We…

cedar waxwing

Wax on the Wings, Fruit in the Belly

This winter, the edges of the wood are rich with fruits. Wild grapes, eastern red cedar, crabapple, dogwood, honeysuckle, bittersweet, and others all seem to have thrived. For birds that seek fruits for winter sustenance–robins, cardinals, white-throated sparrows, and others–that’s…

Osage oranges on the ground

Of Monkey Brains and Mammoths

It’s been a good year for Osage oranges (Maclura pomifera). Now, in mid-to late-autumn, the grapefruit-sized “monkey brains” (as Osage orange fruits are commonly called) litter the ground, turning from chartreuse to brown as they soften and decay. What are…

hummingbird drinking jewelweed nector

The Hummingbird and the Shrew

The parks of Southwest Ohio are home to two of the country’s smallest “warm-blooded” critters. Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Archilochus colubris, are conspicuous throughout the warmer months; least shrews, Cryptotis parva, also are common residents, though ¬much less visible. Adults of each…

rocky creek bed

Parks in a Warming World

In early August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a working group of the United Nations, released their latest report. The message was stark: human-induced climate change is ongoing at an unprecedented scale and, if not curtailed quickly, will have…

butterfly with tattered wings by David Goldstein

Flying on Tattered Wings

In Greek mythology, Icarus attempted to escape from Crete by flying to the mainland, using wings that his father crafted by waxing feathers to Icarus’ arms. However, Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, and the feathers…

male monarch butterfly on common milkweed, photo by david goldstein

Got Milkweed?

As the name implies, milkweeds – a group of plants in the genus Asclepias – are weedy plants. They are characteristic of disturbed habitats like forest edges and open meadows, and though they are perennials, they also produce copious wind-borne…