I believe it is a chicken bone!

Nature

Spoonbills in Pennsylvania

Roseate Spoonbill. Photo © Darren Shank. “Did you see this!?” Dad asked Mom when he got home from work and glanced at the newspaper.“Yeah, let’s go see them,” she replied.“Rare Roseate Spoonbills draw onlookers from near and far,” declared the headlines. The article...

Covers, October 2022

Long-eared Owl. Photo © Matt Amstutz. Bull elk in Grand Teton National Park. Photo © Jason Yoder.

Stargazing Adventure

Beehive Cluster, M44. Photo © CC-SA-4.0. It was a cold, clear 32° F (0° C) Sunday night as my dad and I left our cozy house, bundled in warm winter clothes. Shivering, we walked out to our stargazing spot behind the shop where we would be away from lights. Immediately...

Whooping Crane Wonders

Whooping Crane. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Dawn broke clear and cold on a gorgeous autumn day. The date was October 27, 2021, and it would be a day to remember. My siblings, my mom, and I drove 1½ hours in the early morning to the Horicon National Wildlife refuge in...

Wondernose: What animal has flippers that are up to fifteen feet long?

Humpback whale. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Flippers. That makes you think of seals and sea lions. Is the answer to our riddle some kind of huge sea lion, you ask?No. Unlike the sea lion, our mammal never crawls out of the water. Its flippers (pectorals) are very helpful...

Cedar Trees Grow Apples, Too (but please don’t eat them)

Cedar-apple rust. Photos © Dreamstime.com. “Hey, let’s see if there’s a nest in here,” I said to my little sister. We had accidentally frightened a pair of Mourning Doves from a stout cedar tree. The wide-eyed birds went whistling away to another tree to watch from a...

H’owl You Get Rich?

Long-eared Owl. Photo © Matt Amstutz. Brrr. My arms trembled. My hands shook. I strained to steady the lens in the -10° C (14° F) chill. But was it the cold making me shiver? Or was something like elation pulsing through me? That owl—I had to capture its portrait—in...

Big Day Birding

Canada Warbler. Photo © Dogwood Ridge. On May 13, 2022, my brother and I, along with five others, joined my grandfather on a big day birding trip. My grandfather, Andrew Troyer, keeps an annual big day birding trip in the first or second week of May. We always have a...

October 2022, End of the Trail: B. Reynolds Falls

B. Reynolds Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park, PA. Photo © John Friesen.

Let’s Take a Hike: Elk

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo © Mary Moore.
H’owl You Get Rich?

H’owl You Get Rich?

Long-eared Owl. Photo © Matt Amstutz. Brrr. My arms trembled. My hands shook. I strained to steady the lens in the -10° C (14° F) chill. But was it the cold making me shiver? Or was something like...

Thinking Outside the Box

Box? Did you say box? The large owl was sitting on a branch, silhouetted against a gorgeous sunset of orange and reds. The branch he was on, the trunk he was beside, were flawless—splendid props for this photo that was only etched in my imagination.How can a person...

Covers, October 2022

Long-eared Owl. Photo © Matt Amstutz. Bull elk in Grand Teton National Park. Photo © Jason Yoder.

H’owl You Get Rich?

Long-eared Owl. Photo © Matt Amstutz. Brrr. My arms trembled. My hands shook. I strained to steady the lens in the -10° C (14° F) chill. But was it the cold making me shiver? Or was something like elation pulsing through me? That owl—I had to capture its portrait—in...

Big Day Birding

Canada Warbler. Photo © Dogwood Ridge. On May 13, 2022, my brother and I, along with five others, joined my grandfather on a big day birding trip. My grandfather, Andrew Troyer, keeps an annual big day birding trip in the first or second week of May. We always have a...

Spoonbills in Pennsylvania

Roseate Spoonbill. Photo © Darren Shank. “Did you see this!?” Dad asked Mom when he got home from work and glanced at the newspaper.“Yeah, let’s go see them,” she replied.“Rare Roseate Spoonbills draw onlookers from near and far,” declared the headlines. The article...

Whooping Crane Wonders

Whooping Crane. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Dawn broke clear and cold on a gorgeous autumn day. The date was October 27, 2021, and it would be a day to remember. My siblings, my mom, and I drove 1½ hours in the early morning to the Horicon National Wildlife refuge in...

Wondernose: What bird is named for its beard?

Coppersmith Barbets. Photo © Dreamstime.com. You might think our mystery bird’s name will start with the word “bearded”—as in “Bearded Warbler” or “Bearded Flycatcher.” But no, our bird’s name is actually the French word for beard. You protest, Wondernose, that you...

A Week by the Creek

Stream and wild lupines. Photo © Dreamstime.com. With a last cautious effort, the sun finally peeked over the eastern horizon. Gaining confidence, it rose fully, flooding the earth with its warmth and light. The mist covering the vales protestingly writhed in an...

Migrating Marvels

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Photo © Dreamstime.com. I shivered as the damp wind whistled through my shirt, and I stared unbelievingly through my binoculars at the bird resting on the branch in front of me. It can’t be, I thought, but it was. A Scissor-tailed...

My Wonderful Adventure

Blue-winged Warbler. Photo © Dogwood Ridge. Before I started my twenty-four-hour birding adventure, I knelt beside our creek and looked into the water. As I did, I prayed for a successful birding day, and I thanked God for the opportunity to do this contest.To start,...

A Grandma’s Story

Mudpuppy. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Grandma stood on the flat top of the stone wall, enjoying the cool evening air. A small spring-fed stream lined with stone walls flowed through the yard, under the road, and into the meadow. Locals said the springs were so strong they...

Animals

Covers, October 2022

Covers, October 2022

Long-eared Owl. Photo © Matt Amstutz. Bull elk in Grand Teton National Park. Photo © Jason Yoder.

Stargazing Adventure

Beehive Cluster, M44. Photo © CC-SA-4.0. It was a cold, clear 32° F (0° C) Sunday night as my dad and I left our cozy house, bundled in warm winter clothes. Shivering, we walked out to our stargazing spot behind the shop where we would be away from lights. Immediately...

Aquarius

Helix Nebula, NGC 7293. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Aquarius is a sprawling constellation that stretches across nearly 40° of the southern sky on autumn evenings. This constellation lies south of the Great Square of Pegasus and north of the bright star Fomalhaut (the only...

Black Hole Photography

M87 is a huge galaxy over 50 million light years away with approximately one trillion stars, but these facts are not the most interesting part about the galaxy. A photo taken through the 10” telescope in our observatory shows a jet surging out of the core of the...

In Our Skies

About once a year, Earth passes between the Sun and Neptune. This event is called an opposition because Neptune is on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, rising around sunset and setting around sunrise. Earth is closer to Neptune at opposition than at other times...

Aquila

Barnard's E. Photo © CC by SA-3.0 Aquila, the Eagle, is a mid-sized constellation that lies right along the summer Milky Way.The brightest star in Aquila is Altair. Two somewhat dimmer stars lie on either side of Altair, forming a distinctive line that’s vaguely...

Lyra

Ring Nebula. Photo © NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScl/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Lyra, the Harp, is a small constellation that lies almost straight overhead on August evenings in the mid-northern latitudes. Lyra is outlined by just five stars. Four of...

Dusty, Milky—Beautiful

Milky Way over Matterhorn. Photo © iStock. Our home galaxy is called the Milky Way because people have long had the idea that it looks like spilled milk drifting across the sky. It’s believed the ancient Greeks called it Galaxias Kyklos, which is translated Milky...

In Our Skies, July 2022: Planets

Moon. Photo © Shaphan Shank. This month, nearly all the bright planets are strung across the early morning sky. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all easy to find, thanks to their brilliance. Venus and Jupiter are brighter than any star in the night sky, and Mars...

Of Bolides and Birds

Bolide with Tau Herculid meteor shower and fireflies. Photo © Cheryl Shank. I didn’t know birds talk in their sleep, but they surely must. About 12:30 a.m. an Ovenbird began to talk. Before long, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo made some comments of his own, too, and he kept...

Ophichus

M12. Photo © Scott Rosen. Ophiuchus is a large constellation that lies high in the southern sky on midsummer evenings. This constellation lies just north of the constellation Scorpius and just west of the band of the Milky Way.Ophiuchus contains a couple of large open...

Draco

Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543). Photo © Scott Rosen. Draco, the Dragon, is a sprawling circumpolar constellation that wraps around the Little Dipper. The Dragon’s head is a small group of four stars that lies a little northwest of the bright star Vega. The rest of the...

Cool Night, Cozy Blankets, Hot Cocoa, &…

Once upon a cool August evening, our family happened to be camping in a dark, open area near Jasper, Alberta, Canada, where we had an amazing view of the sky.One evening, something caught our dad’s eye. He looked up to see a shooting star streak through the sky....

The Horsehead Nebula

Horsehead Nebula. Photo © Morris Yoder. If you’ve ever found the constellation Orion, there’s a good chance you looked right through this complex cloud of dust and gas without realizing it. The brightest star that you see in this photo is named Alnitak, and it’s the...

In Our Skies, May 2022: Lunar Eclipse

Meteor activity is divided quite unevenly between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the Northern Hemisphere getting a better view of nearly every meteor shower of the year. The Eta Aquarid shower is the lone exception. This shower favors the south side of...

Canes Venatici

Canes Venatici is a small constellation, consisting of only two stars. However, it is quite easy to find due to its location just south of the Big Dipper. Like many of the surrounding constellations, Canes Venatici holds quite a few galaxies.M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy,...

Wondernose

Wondernose: What bird is named for its beard?

Wondernose: What bird is named for its beard?

Coppersmith Barbets. Photo © Dreamstime.com. You might think our mystery bird’s name will start with the word “bearded”—as in “Bearded Warbler” or “Bearded Flycatcher.” But no, our bird’s name is...

Exploring Nature

Exploring Nature, April 2022

Exploring Nature, April 2022

In April and May, wildebeest herds move northwest to central Serengeti. They follow the new grass growth.April and May are times to hunt morel mushrooms in the mid-South and Midwest.Check vernal...