Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Home Authors Posts by Matt Pelikan

Matt Pelikan

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Wild Side: Red-bellied (Carolina) woodpecker

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In these days when so many bird species are beleaguered by habitat loss, climate change, disease, environmental toxins, competition from invasive species, or other...

Wild Side: CBC

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The 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held on the first day of the year, was in one respect the most enjoyable...

Wild Side: New World warblers

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The New World warblers — that’s the avian family Parulidae — features many of the most popular and attractive songbirds in the world. As...

Wild Side: Where are the butterflies hiding?

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As calendar years approach their ends, I always find myself reflecting back on what interesting species I found in the preceding months. But I...

Wild Side: Insects are still out there

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As November winds down, bugwatching likewise grows slow. All of the Island, by this point, has had at least one hard frost, killing many...

Wild Side: Aging naturalist

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As a kid, I had astonishing vision. I can remember standing in our driveway and seeing with perfect clarity a wrought-iron filigree on a...

Wild Side: Weird wasps

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As you will have gathered by now, there isn’t much about insects that doesn’t interest me. These animals, primitive by some measures but highly...

Wild Side: Survival of the fittest

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I write this column under the optimistic assumption that the Drought of 2022 is in the rear-view mirror. September and the first half of...

Wild Side: Sometimes no-kill insect studies don’t work

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A lifelong lover of wildlife of all kinds, I avoid killing anything. I brake for turkeys and squirrels; spiders, and stinkbugs, and crickets that...

Wild Side: Andrena nubecula

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Yellow is the signature color of Martha’s Vineyard in late September: goldenrod is blooming everywhere! These members of the aster family — somewhere around...

Wild Side: The cicada that sang in the morning

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On Thursday, August 25, I met with high school science teacher Anna Cotton to discuss a natural history classroom project she’s developing. We briefly...

Wild Side: Eastern tiger swallowtail

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This has, by and large, been a pitiful season for butterflies. As I wrote in my July 12 column, I believe butterfly numbers in...

Wild Side: Leafcutter bees

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With more than 180 species in nearly 30 genera, the bee fauna of Martha’s Vineyard presents an amazing diversity of appearance, life history, and...

Wild Side: The Carolina grasshopper

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The Carolina grasshopper, Dissosteira carolina, ranks among the most common species of Orthoptera on Martha’s Vineyard, and also among the most easily found and...

Wild Side: Where are the butterflies?

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Among the most common wildlife questions that I get these days runs about like this: “I’m hardly seeing any butterflies. Are their numbers down?” It’s...

Wild Side: Our Vineyard bioblitz

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For centuries at least, there has existed a tradition of amateur study of nature. During the 20th century, observing nature achieved real popularity as...

Wild Side: The Breeding Bird Survey

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For about 20 years now, I’ve spent one morning every June running the Vineyard’s Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) route. Coordinated by the U.S. Geological...

Wild Side: Hitchhiking grasshoppers

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My friend Margaret Curtin is a top-shelf naturalist. I closely follow her posts to the “citizen science” platform iNaturalist.org, where she helps me and...

Wild Side: Face to face with bees

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You probably think about bees from time to time. Their role as pollinators has come increasingly into the public eye in recent years, while...

Wild Side: One for the books

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There is some really weird stuff out there. Take the insect order Strepsiptera, commonly known as “twisted-wing insects” because of the bizarre wing form shown...