Rooting out wildlife’s frenemies: How human hubris can victimize–or save–a species.

As we note the death a hundred years ago this week of Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon, I’ve been thinking about how the mindset of the time contributed to the extinction of a species that was once the most abundant in North America. Despite growing evidence to the contrary, people of the Victorian era deluded themselves with the twin fallacies that […]

Why you never see a flock of hummingbirds and five other things I learned about teeny hummers from Noah Strycker’s “The Thing With Feathers”

According to Strycker, whose entertaining new book I reviewed recently for ScienceNews, hummingbirds generally lead solitary lives and are “stubbornly unsociable.” And they sure don’t go in for any mushy mute-swan mating-for-life hooey. They dispense with copulation in a jiffy and then females and males occupy separate territories thereafter. Now that you think about it, […]

The Great Molting Spot

  I could watch the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal LiveCam all day, although the lack of audio is disappointing. The bulls’ guttural barking and bellowing and harrumphing as they slam their blubbery chests into each other and slinky-roll across the sand are calls of the wild that make your skin prickle. I tried to capture […]