A Dandelion for Alex

When I was an undergraduate (over thirty years ago), I spent a year working with Alex, the African gray parrot who was part of Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s research project on animal cognition. My experience with Alex included some unforgettable lessons. One of the greatest I learned from Beatrix Gardner, one of the researchers who taught the chimpanzee Washoe sign language.

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Collecting Inspiration for My Advent Calendar

For years, I’ve wanted to make my own Advent calendar. I’ve had a clear idea of what I wanted to make but never started. While the weirdness that is 2020 is one of the reasons I’m finally doing this, collecting images that I can use for inspiration was what actually got me going.

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When Your Bird Isn’t Average: Challenges in Identification

In early October, my sister brought me dead bird she found in our yard. Despite having the bird “in hand” (I didn’t actually hold it) and recording it in my nature journal, I came away uncertain of the species. While I was convinced it was some kind of thrush, probably a hermit thrush, there were a few things that left me uncertain. The main point of confusion was its size. It was much too small.

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An Easy Way To Practice Drawing Live Animals

My whole life, I’ve been interested in drawing birds and animals, and now that I nature journal, capturing their appearance with quick, accurate sketches has become even more important to me. But wild animals don’t hang around long and birds rarely sit still.

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Being Flexible with Nature Journal Plans

This is the last week of my self-imposed nature journal challenge. For each of my sessions, I had ideas of what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. While I wound up with pages I consider successful, nothing went as planned. I learned a lot anyway, most of all that I need to be flexible.

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