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I believe it is a chicken bone!

Nature

Let’s Take a Hike: White-breasted Nuthatch

Let's Take a Hike, October 2021. Photo © Anna Boggs, 15, Rural Retreat, VA.

Covers, October 2021

Red squirrel. Photo © Maya Simmonds. American Goldfinch on bachelor buttons. Photo © Hannah Jones, Ava, MO.

Favorite Focus, September 2021

See "Focus Illustrated, September 2021, for spider photo mentioned above.

Capturing a Flower in a Water Drop Splash

A water drop splash on a rainy day? Sure. This is a perfect project for a rainy day. Come with me, and we will step inside and have some tabletop fun. 1. Fill a clear 9” x 13” pan to the brim with water. 2. Place an overflow pan beneath the glass pan to contain water...

Preparing Your Garden for Rest

One of the blessings most North American gardeners enjoy is the cyclical nature of the pastime. While I have written about the joy of season extension and greenhouse production, having a season of rest makes the garden that much more appealing as spring approaches....

Camp & Cabin Cookin’, September 2021

Recipes: Bacon Sour Cream Potatoes, and Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip. Recipes: Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes, and Picnic Stromboli.

Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula

The Summer Triangle, a large triangle of bright stars (Deneb, Vega, and Altair), lies straight overhead on September evenings in the United States. Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula all lie in or near the Triangle. While none of these constellations are large, they...

End of the Trail, September 2021

“Owl betcha it’s an ‘ole John Deere!”We had to chuckle when we first looked at Anthony Sensenig’s photo of an Eastern Screech-Owl sitting on this old Model H. Sparkles of sunset peak through—certainly a fun End of the Trail shot! Photo © Anthony Sensenig.

In Our Skies, September 2021, Viewing Neptune

Just after sunset the night of September 14, the planet Mercury will be visible in the western sky just above the horizon. While it is only 26.8° from the Sun and, therefore, close to the horizon, it is at its farthest point from the Sun during the Eastern...

The Unequal Equinox

I’ve heard it’s possible to balance an egg, or even a broom, on its end on the date of the equinox. There’s a good chance you’ve heard the same thing. It sounds incredible, but it’s true.There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about that day though; it’s possible...

Caption This, September 2021

Glade Mill, Babcock State Park, West Virginia. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Where are the fly rods when we need them? We invite you to submit your caption for this photograph. The photograph will be used on the back of the January issue, along with our choice of a caption...

Exploring Nature, September 2021

Beautiful autumn foliage is coming to the New England states.Blue-winged Teal are long-distance migrants; therefore, one of the first to migrate south. By September, large flocks are arriving in Texas. Some will go as far south as South America.September and October...

August 2021, From the Editor’s Quill: Wildflower Adventures

Wildflower adventures—some of you certainly took them. By absorbing nature—the birds, the flowers, the butterflies, the turtles, the snakes—with your family and friends, your lives were enriched. Thank you to each one who participated in this little contest. It was...

Attack!

A kite’s call sounded overhead. My family and I were walking in our neighborhood in early summer, near a tall old pine. I felt a rush of wind, and something tugged at my braid. I looked up to see a Mississippi Kite climbing back into the sky, where a second wheeled....

You Can Draw a Bighorn Sheep

Open in September 2021
Covers, October 2021

Covers, October 2021

Red squirrel. Photo © Maya Simmonds. American Goldfinch on bachelor buttons. Photo © Hannah Jones, Ava, MO.

Let’s Take a Hike: White-breasted Nuthatch

Let's Take a Hike, October 2021. Photo © Anna Boggs, 15, Rural Retreat, VA.

Covers, October 2021

Red squirrel. Photo © Maya Simmonds. American Goldfinch on bachelor buttons. Photo © Hannah Jones, Ava, MO.

Favorite Focus, September 2021

See "Focus Illustrated, September 2021, for spider photo mentioned above.

End of the Trail, September 2021

“Owl betcha it’s an ‘ole John Deere!”We had to chuckle when we first looked at Anthony Sensenig’s photo of an Eastern Screech-Owl sitting on this old Model H. Sparkles of sunset peak through—certainly a fun End of the Trail shot! Photo © Anthony Sensenig.

Attack!

A kite’s call sounded overhead. My family and I were walking in our neighborhood in early summer, near a tall old pine. I felt a rush of wind, and something tugged at my braid. I looked up to see a Mississippi Kite climbing back into the sky, where a second wheeled....

Wondernose: What birds sometimes lose their lives by getting swept over Niagara Falls?

I can see that you are quite puzzled by our riddle, Wondernose. Why ever would a bird fall over Niagara Falls? Tundra Swan. Photo © Andy Shubin/Dreamstime.com. To explain why this can happen, I must introduce you to a scientific term called “wing loading.” Different...

My Red-headed Woodpecker

I sat in the room with the door closed, the lights off, and the window open. It was 11:00 a.m., and we had been seeing the Red-headed Woodpecker at our feeders all morning. I had decided to try for a picture of him. Red-headed Woodpecker. Photo © Noelle Stodden. The...

Bobolinks Galore

Our grandson Paul hurried up the steps to our back porch, somewhat out of breath, asking, “Grandpa, did you ever see seventy-five Bobolinks in one flock?” “Now, Paul,” I answered, “are you sure?” “Yes, I counted them in our neighbor’s corn field twenty minutes ago!”...

Announcing Nature Friend’s Birding w/Friends Contest, 2021

The month of September is a great month to go birding. Many songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors are migrating. Even early waterfowl migrants can be found at times. Our family does not normally have any special field trips or bird counts this month, but when the editors...

Treasures of the Forest

Treasure hunts are lots of fun, aren’t they? The suspense of knowing that something special is hidden, prolonged by the fact that it takes effort to find! It was with that sort of feeling that we hopped out of the car at Campbell Valley Park—our starting point for the...

You Can Draw a Yellow Warbler

Go to August 2021 to download

Treasure-trove in the Woods

The day was perfect for my annual wildflower hunt. On a day like this, it was hard to decide—should I look up for birds or down for flowers? With my trusty Alpen binoculars slung around my neck, I strolled a couple hundred feet down the road to where I knew the...

Wildflower Adventures

The morning was pleasantly breezy. As I snatched a wildflower guide plus pen and paper, I could feel that I was in for an adventure or two. This would be my first wildflower hunt, and I was somewhat new to identifying them, although I am an avid birder. But it sounded...

Let’s Take a Hike: Wildflowers

Background photo © Kevin Shank.

Animals

Covers, October 2021

Covers, October 2021

Red squirrel. Photo © Maya Simmonds. American Goldfinch on bachelor buttons. Photo © Hannah Jones, Ava, MO.

Water Life

Favorite Focus… July 2021

Favorite Focus… July 2021

I found this rock in a cave by our house. Photo © Nate Carlen, Chewelah, WA. I took a walk to our pond, and was delighted to find this large crayfish in a shallow puddle. Photo © Timothy David...

Reptiles & Amphibians

Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula

The Summer Triangle, a large triangle of bright stars (Deneb, Vega, and Altair), lies straight overhead on September evenings in the United States. Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula all lie in or near the Triangle. While none of these constellations are large, they...

In Our Skies, September 2021, Viewing Neptune

Just after sunset the night of September 14, the planet Mercury will be visible in the western sky just above the horizon. While it is only 26.8° from the Sun and, therefore, close to the horizon, it is at its farthest point from the Sun during the Eastern...

The Unequal Equinox

I’ve heard it’s possible to balance an egg, or even a broom, on its end on the date of the equinox. There’s a good chance you’ve heard the same thing. It sounds incredible, but it’s true.There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about that day though; it’s possible...

To Photograph the Milky Way

The foundational element in achieving spectacular night photographs is the proper equipment. Most lenses will capture stars, but many do not capture them well. You want a lens that will shoot wide open at f/2.8 or lower to let in as much light as possible. Two lenses...

Sagittarius

Sagittarius, the Archer, lies straight above the southern horizon on August evenings at mid-northern latitudes. The band of the Milky Way runs through the western part of Sagittarius; in fact, the core of the Milky Way is located in the direction of this...

Comet-dust Streaks

I turned over from my back to my side. My husband was soundly asleep beside me, and yet I couldn’t drop off. Suddenly, a thought awakened me even farther. This was August 11, and I had read earlier today that the Perseid meteor shower peaked tonight. I slipped from...

Scorpius

Scorpius, the Scorpion, is one of the most distinctive constellations in the night sky. On July evenings, it sits just above the southern horizon at mid-northern latitudes. Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius, is a reddish star marking the scorpion’s heart. From...

In Our Skies, July 2021, Venus and Mars Conjunction

Throughout July, Venus and Mars will be visible low in the west just after sunset. The planets will start and end the month a little distance from each other, but on the evening of July 12, they will pass about 0.5° from each other. On the same night, the Moon will be...

Planetary Nebulas

Have you ever wondered why the area at the back of your elbow is nicknamed the “funny bone”? For starters, it’s really not a bone. It’s the Ulnar nerve. and when you bump it, it’s not funny at all! In the same way, some of the most beautiful objects in space have been...

Western Hydra

Hydra represented a water snake to the ancient Greeks. Like a snake, this constellation is long, narrow, and squiggly. Hydra is the largest constellation in the sky, its form stretching about 75° across the southern sky as seen from mid-northern latitudes. The...

The 2017 Solar Eclipse

One ordinary day, I noticed a Nature Friend magazine from March 2017 lying on the couch. I picked it up and started flipping through it. I soon noticed the article by Kevin Shank, “Story Starter for Winter, Spring, and Summer.” Nature Friend was requesting stories...

Sequoias, Sentinel, and Stars

A Mariposa Grove shuttle bus unhurriedly wound its way up the wooded hillside from Yosemite National Park’s southern gate to the famed Mariposa Grove. It paused for a minute to let us and at least twenty other passengers get a glimpse of four giant sequoia trees....

In Our Skies, March 2021, Lyrid Meteor Shower

As long as the sky is clear, there’s rarely a bad time to be out under the stars. A telescope or even a binocular can reveal scores of galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters, if you know just where to look*. This year is as good as any other year for observing these...

The Great Conjunction: Saturn and Jupiter

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Photo © Morris Yoder. Jupiter and Saturn appear to pass each other in the sky about once every twenty years. When this happens, astronomers call it a great conjunction. In the early 1600s, Johannes Kepler was noticing one of these...

The Rainbow Eclipse of 2017

The Rainbow Eclipse of 2017

Eclipse Traffic Jam was a Godsend

Also, "The Influence of Absence" Solar eclipse excerpts from the November 2017 Nature Friend magazine.

October 2017 Study Guide – Solar Eclipse

October 2017 Study Guide 2017 Solar Eclipse. Photo © Kevin Shank, Nature Friend Magazine.

Wondernose

Exploring Nature

Exploring Nature, Summer

Exploring Nature, Summer

Children in Iceland rescue young puffins at night that are attracted to town lights, and release them at coast in the morning.Watch for noctilucent clouds through August.Salmon are running in Alaska...