Purple Sea Stars, Part II

Last week I did a bit of digging into the carnivorous, brainless, neuro-sensory-cell-powered sea star of the tidepools of the Pacific Northwest. These odd creatures are also responsible for the discovery of keystone species. Okay, the credit really goes to … Continue reading

Purple Sea Stars, Part I

Tidepools are their own ecosystem, complete with producers, consumers, and predators. This may leave one wondering, who’s the predator? Clearly there are no fangs or talons among the tidepools’ inhabitants. In tidepools of the Pacific Northwest, it is the purple … Continue reading

Robins Revisited

American robins one of the most common in the United States. We often associate the word “common” with ordinary, yet these birds are anything but. Which is why I’m writing about robins again. For starters, American robins are often considered … Continue reading

Scaly-Foot Snail

The scaly foot snail is not one you’d come across in your backyard garden. In fact, you wouldn’t find it in any garden at tall – it’s a marine mollusk, found only in the Indian Ocean. Not only that, they … Continue reading

How Birds Survive Extreme Cold

Yet again, another weather forecast looms on the horizon that promises nights well below 0° F. And again I find myself marveling at animals’ ability to survive such extremes, especially the birds who have not migrated to warmer climates. Many … Continue reading

Rock Hyrax

I discovered last week that manatees, elephants, and hyraxes are close relatives. Hyraxes? Hyraxes are small, furry animals that look like rodents. In fact they look a lot like guinea pigs or a rabbit with short ears. The rock hyrax … Continue reading


Manatees are gentle giants. By giant I mean the males can reach 3,500 pounds and up to 13 feet long (though the average adult is about 10 feet long and weighs around 1,000 lbs)! And yet they are gentle, lumbering … Continue reading

Decorator Worms

On a recent and much treasured trip to the ocean, I came across strands of tiny shells on the beach. Of course I was curious. Clearly the shells had once belonged to living mollusks. But why were they all connected … Continue reading

Meet Rosalie Edge

In the research I do for a variety of projects, I often come across individuals who have made a difference in conservation and environmental efforts. Surely we can all name a few. But so much of the work is done … Continue reading

Squirrel Appreciation

Next Saturday, January 21, is Squirrel Appreciation Day. So in appreciation of my backyard squirrels (which I love watching) and all of their relatives, I did a little research. The first thing I discovered is that a squirrel is not … Continue reading