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Matt Pelikan


A common pigeon asks for help on a Martha’s Vineyard ferryboat

The episode reminded me that humans and animals, for all their differences, also share many similarities.

Finches due to swarm over Martha’s Vineyard soon

On the Vineyard as well as in the rest of our region, this will be a bountiful season for these northern birds.

Mushrooms bloom on Martha’s Vineyard in autumn

Conditions have produced an unusually lengthy season for these interesting Islanders, along with robust numbers and diversity.

Nature never gets old, on Martha’s Vineyard or anywhere else

The complexity of nature is virtually infinite, and in a half-century of study, I've barely scratched the surface.

Crickets and katydids make a racket on Martha’s Vineyard now

With sufficient stealth, patience, and a flashlight if it's night, you may be able to zero in on the sound of a calling Orthopteran in order to watch it sing.

Pet cats can skew the Martha’s Vineyard ecosystem

Domestic cats can live and hunt at densities many times higher than any natural predator would ever reach.

Big news – new butterfly found

The aptly named giant swallowtail, one of the largest and most strikingly marked butterflies occurring in North America, has paid us a visit.

Even on Martha’s Vineyard, robber flies have a bad name

These predatory insects have never been systematically studied on the Vineyard, so hard information about their diversity here is lacking.

Flora on Martha’s Vineyard will adapt as climate changes

In a few decades, this elegant orange butterfly, once a rarity, will almost certainly be a boring butterfly in Vineyard yards and gardens.

Plants, bees work together to keep things growing

Many kinds of plants, including most grasses and many trees, opt for the shotgun approach, releasing huge quantities of pollen onto the breeze.

From darners to gliders, dragonflies like Martha’s Vineyard

Our dragonflies are diverse, abundant insects, and major players in our ecology: they eat everything from gnats up to other dragonflies.

Three minutes at 50 stops make for a demanding day’s count

For the last 12 years or so, a high point of my birding year has been covering a Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) route for the for the U.

Recently rare on Martha’s Vineyard, house wrens are moving back in

Changing habitat and restrictions on pesticides have helped the population of house wrens rebound on the Island.

Garlic mustard threatens to take hold on Martha’s Vineyard

Unchecked, garlic mustard can shove aside all kinds of native plants, including trees.

Identifying sparrows is a challenge even for veteran birders

Chipping sparrows are all around us, but you're more apt to hear them than see them.

Several butterflies have arrived here ahead of schedule

Along with most other migrating birds and animals, butterflies have appeared on the Island much earlier than usual.

To some naturalists, “native” is neither relative nor debatable

Native plants do best here, according to some horticulturalists, but what exactly constitutes a native?

The complexities of dealing with nature on Martha’s Vineyard

Whether it's a hawk killing a chicken or a tick infecting a human, there's a price to be paid for living so close to nature.

Red-tailed hawks have year-round homes on Martha’s Vineyard

Some two dozen families have stopped migrating, content to he here all the time.

Identifying gulls can make even expert birders wince

A couple of gulls from the far north, the Iceland and glaucous, can give birders fits when they try to identify them.