Thursday, October 21, 2021
Home Authors Posts by Matt Pelikan

Matt Pelikan

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Wild Side: Farms as habitat

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In addition to pecking out Wild Side columns for the MV Times, my working life includes roles with BiodiversityWorks and the Betsy and Jesse...

Wild Side: The buzz on bumble bees

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Everybody knows what bumble bees are: big, hairy, black-and-yellow insects flitting from flower to flower. At least eight species occur on the Vineyard, with...

Wild Side: Fuzzy fly mystery

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A typical field season generates more questions than answers for me, producing a lamentable sense of backward progress: As the years go by, questions...

Wild Side: Island bees

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Everybody has received the basic message about native bees: they are ecologically vital, and populations of at least some species have declined markedly, often...

Wild Side: Non-native earthworms

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A down-Island gardener just brought me a surprise: a pail of compost containing worms the gardener had correctly identified as Asian jumping worms, one...

Wild Side: Cicada killer wasps

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The most common type of question I get in early August has to do with wasps: Big ones, sometimes described as frighteningly large, black...

Wild Side: Butterfly milkweed

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If there is a particular plant worthy of being named the Vineyard’s National Wildflower, it is surely butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa. It’s a plant...

Wild Side: East Coast grasshoppers

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As interesting as I find grasshoppers to be, I have to admit that as a group, these are not particularly colorful insects. In keeping...

Wild Side: How long will it stay?

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The past couple of weeks have been fine ones for me, replete with interesting wildlife sightings and opportunities to explore new or inaccessible areas....

Wild Side: Leafhoppers

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Insects are currently enjoying a moment of mostly positive media attention, thanks to the remarkable mass emergence of periodical cicadas in parts of the...

Wild Side: Breeding birds

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As the month of May winds down, the bird breeding season peaks. Here’s a report on the nesting activity in and around our yard...

Wild Side: Dung flies

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In the natural world, everything is a resource. Even the most trivial or improbable niche has its occupier. Perhaps the most glaring example of...

Wild Side: Elegant field sparrows

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I have a weakness for sparrows, those “little brown jobs” that are the bane of beginning birders due to their apparent absence of any...

Wild Side: Mysterious fly

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As a student of insects, I spend a lot of time contemplating the daunting slopes of my personal Everest of ignorance. The class Insecta...

Wild Side: Pygmy grasshoppers

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The most favorite of my many favorite insects is surely the crested pygmy grasshopper, Nomotettix cristatus. It’s probably the smallest Orthoptera occurring on Martha’s...

Wild Side: Killdeer plovers

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Three species of so-called “banded plovers” occur regularly on Martha’s Vineyard. Of these, the piping plover, an intensively managed species that nests in modest...

Wild Side: Winter ants

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In a recent column about feeding wild birds (bit.ly/30c79CX,) I pointed out that food you put out for birds often ends up feeding other...

Wild Side: Harlequin ducks

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Waterfowl — and about 40 species of ducks, geese, and swans have been recorded on Martha’s Vineyard — may seem to be a boring...

Wild Side: Start small

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It’s the time of year when I receive many inquiries about feeding wild birds: Is it ecologically helpful or harmful? Should I feed birds,...

Wild Side: American kestrel

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While snowy owls and a remarkable invasion of finch species have dominated the attention of birders over the past few months, an attractive and...
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