WILD THINGS: FLAMINGO SIGHTING IS FRESH OMEN FOR 2021

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10:22 a.m. and the year was still pure. I had not seen a bird. I was in the living room, staring at my laptop, trying not to look...

WILD THINGS: VEXED BY A DUCK

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I hate chasing birds. And I hate getting up early. And, closing out my third decade living in the Keys, I don’t much like the cold. So...

WILD THINGS: COUNTING ON THE BIRD COUNT

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The 121st Christmas Bird Count, Key West edition, started with Ellen Westbrook and three guys named Mark (Songer, Whiteside and me) standing at the foot of White...

WILD THINGS: YOU’VE GOTTA HAVE STANDARDS

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It’s not that my wife hates birdwatching. She just has very stringent standards for when she will go. The idea of walking around for hours, staring into bushes,...

WILD THINGS: DANCE IS LIFE — FOR SOME

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I was reading a species account of the Reddish Egret the other day, when the authors described the bird as a “charismatic species,” which kind of stopped...

WILD THINGS: PRESERVING THE SPIRIT OF KEY WEST’S FRAN FORD

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I was thinking about Fran Ford the other day. Possibly because I was sitting on a bench in the shade of a giant ficus tree in the...

WILD THINGS: SCUTES & SHITE-POKES AT THE BLUE HOLE

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I was up at the Blue Hole on Big Pine the other day, standing on the platform, staring at the gator in the shallow water below, watching...

WILD THINGS: THE ART OF BLENDING IN

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The wind made it difficult to think. Tilt your head the wrong way and your hat would fly off and tumbleweed down the beach. It didn’t matter...

WILD THINGS: THE SUBTLE GENIUS OF SWALLOW-TAILED KITES

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The kite shot out from nowhere, just above the road, doing something of a bootlegger turn, its face angled one way, its body sliding another. Its wings were...

Common grackles — victims of their own success

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I’d say I can’t tell you the last time I saw a common grackle, but that wouldn’t be true. I saw one last Saturday while riding my...
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