Are We Part Of Nature?

Photos and meditation on our connections Are human beings a part of the natural world, separate from it living in our own human-made world, or somewhere in between? As a professor of anthropology (retired!) I have thought a lot about these questions. Consider this photographic example—a jet’s contrail passing (or so it seemed from my … More Are We Part Of Nature?

Wing Flapping Displays As Agonistic Behavior

I introduced this series of posts addressing “agonistic behavior” with the following definition, from the Wikipedia article on the subject: “The term has broader meaning than aggressive behaviour because it includes threats, displays, retreats, placation, and conciliation.” This post highlights wing flapping by ducks as an example of agonistic behavior that is clearly not fighting (but could … More Wing Flapping Displays As Agonistic Behavior

The Agoni(stic) And the Ecstacy (Or Not): Bird Vs. Mammal

Juncos are fairly tough birds. They hiss and click if you unwittingly get near their nests. So if they can challenge humans, ground squirrels may well appear to them to be relatively easy to chase off. That is the way it seemed a month ago when two juncos challenged a rock squirrel in our front … More The Agoni(stic) And the Ecstacy (Or Not): Bird Vs. Mammal

“Agonistic Behavior” Among Birds: More Than Just Fighting

A useful introduction to the term “agonistic behavior” is found here,” from Wikipedia—”Agonistic behaviour is any social behaviour related to fighting. The term has broader meaning than aggressive behaviour because it inecludes threats, displays, retreats, placation, and conciliation.” My camera and I see it all the time, from our bird bath to clashes in the (relative) wild. I have documented such … More “Agonistic Behavior” Among Birds: More Than Just Fighting

Motion Blur #2: Photographing American Avocets in Flight

I live hundreds of miles inland from the Pacific, but late in August, Flagstaff was visited by a flock of American Avocets. As you saw in my first Motion Blur post, the technique produces some cool effects. (By the way, like yesterday’s post, this shot was taken at the Old Walnut Canyon Road Ponds. I … More Motion Blur #2: Photographing American Avocets in Flight

A doe and her fawn

I know that gardeners are not always fond of deer making an appearance, since it can involve pretty much decimating at least one plant the deer find tasty. Putting that aside, however, watching a doe who has been visiting our boulder-filled back yard (and the plants my wife has worked so hard to nurture) for … More A doe and her fawn

Rock Squirrels

On September 1, my wife called me to the window to come and see a “rock squirrel party.” Rock squirrels (Otospermophilus variegatus ) are the little rodents that we first met when we moved to our current home in Flagstaff, Arizona—and were a bit mystified. The genus otospermophilus is a group of ground squirrels. Our … More Rock Squirrels

Waterfowl on Frances Short Pond (Flagstaff)

It’s been a frightfully warm winter, but not so warm as to completely melt the ice on our fair city’s beloved municipal pond near a couple of our public schools. Frances Short was an “educator and city councilperson” in Flagstaff. (For more information, click here.) The pond and its immediate environs are home to waterfowl … More Waterfowl on Frances Short Pond (Flagstaff)