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ALWAYS IN SEASON: The blue jay: Insouciance embodied

December 15, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

When it comes to describing blue jays, quite a few words come to mind. This is because the blue jay projects contradictory images. Continue Reading

ALWAYS IN SEASON: Collared doves conquer the continent

December 1, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

Probably no species has conquered North America more quickly than the Eurasian collared dove. Continue Reading

ALWAYS IN SEASON: Unpredictable redpolls show up early

November 10, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

Jacobs ponders an early surge in the redpoll population. Continue Reading

ALWAYS IN SEASON: Comfort birds or ill omens? Robins play both roles

October 27, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

My partner says robins are “comfort birds,” but I’m here to tell a different story. Continue Reading

ALWAYS IN SEASON: Birds have an uncanny knack for turning up as anticipated

October 21, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

It’s uncanny how often a bird shows up soon after someone mentions it to me, and quite often when I simply think of the bird myself. Sometimes I think the birds are sending out brainwaves, subtly invading my consciousness. Continue Reading

ALWAYS IN SEASON: Red-tailed hawks come in many variations

October 13, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

A couple of weeks ago, I confessed confusing a red-tailed hawk for a goshawk, another raptor. But goshawks and redtails are not particularly closely related nor very similar in appearance or habits.
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MIKE JACOBS/ALWAYS IN SEASON: What if you gave a bird walk and nobody came?

October 6, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

No people showed up at a bird walk I was supposed to lead a week ago Friday, but the birds came anyway. Continue Reading

MIKE JACOBS/ALWAYS IN SEASON: The challenge and wonder of cranes

September 29, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

Cranes are extraordinary birds, and they come freighted with millennia of accumulated lore. This is cultural, even spiritual. Continue Reading

MIKE JACOBS/ALWAYS IN SEASON: Early guess proves wrong in bird identification

September 22, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

Mary J. Gust thought it was an eagle at first, but when the bird turned, she noticed bright white legs and a spotted belly. These field marks led to a tentative identification: Red-tailed hawk. Continue Reading

ALWAYS IN SEASON: Movement of birds remains a mystery

September 9, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

Perhaps invasion is too strong a term, because it implies malevolent intent. Nevertheless, it is the word that scientists use to describe what’s going on. The species in question is the red crossbill. Its invasion may be abetted by its close relative, the white-winged crossbill. Continue Reading