Home Authors Posts by Matt Pelikan

Matt Pelikan


Martha’s Vineyard birders appreciate wintertime juncos

Juncos are not particularly shy birds, and if they are frequenting your feeding station, you can't miss them.

Martha’s Vineyard birders take a year-end accounting

Approximately 60 birders took to the field, and tracked down more than 21,000 individual birds representing 121 species.

Rare and elusive, auks winter off Martha’s Vineyard shores

Though they're hard to find and even harder to get a good look at, I've always had a fondness for the auks.

Feeding birds is serious business on Martha’s Vineyard

Birds are nice friends to have. Feeding them, as lots of Islanders do, can have unintended consequences.

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.