Clark's Nutcracker with Whitebark Pine Seed, Snowbank Mountain, Idaho

Nutcrackers – Not the Kind You’re Thinking – and Mutualism


Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species each benefits from the activity of the other. The different species could exist independently of each other, but have evolved a relationship by which both benefit. The Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) is a high altitude pine tree, whose range includes the Idaho batholith. In those latitudes, it only…

Striped Skunk, Salton Sea, California. The various bouquets of the Salton Sea make a skunk nearly undetectable

A Nasal Essay


WC and Mrs. WC chased reports of an Indigo Bunting and a Blue Grosbeak at Fort BoiseWildlife Management Area on Saturday. We dipped on the birds – for the second time, in fact – but there was one aspect of the trip that didn’t escape us: a symphony of stinks, a miasma of malodors. Start…

Building a Cliff Swallow Nest, Step Two

Mud, Spit and Patience


One of the things that makes birds endless fascinating to WC is the whole matter of bird nests. Some birds get by with a scrape on the ground. Others build elaborate shelters to incubate their eggs and raise their kids. In the latter group is the Cliff Swallow. Cliff Swallows are very widely distributed in…

Greater Sage Grouse male, lekking, Bennett Mountain, Idaho

Trump and the Greater Sage Grouse


Donald Trump wouldn’t know a Greater Sage Grouse if it bit him on the ass. He is profoundly ignorant of science, let alone ornithology. He is incurious as well, indifferent to the web of life upon which humanity depends. Characteristically, he has responded to his major campaign donors instead of the science in addressing the…

Long-billed Dowitcher, Blacks Creek Reservoir, July 2017

Birding Blacks Creek Reservoir


WC spent a morning walking around Blacks Creek Reservoir. Blacks Creek is a small, mostly seasonal irrigation reservoir located a few miles southeast of Boise. The reservoir is a patchwork of ownership interests, but an effort led by Golden Eagle Audubon Society a few years ago has created a birding gem. The reservoir varies from…