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Matt Pelikan

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Birds use tails for steerage; birders use them for identification

It's nothing fancy – a clump of long feathers controlled by muscles at their base.

What a warm winter portends for Martha’s Vineyard

At the most obvious level, the mild conditions are working out well for many species that remain active through the winter.

Migrating brant spend the winter in Ocean Park

Far more wild than the Canada Geese that have become year-round residents, brant are only here for a few months.

Some winters, snowy owls appear on Martha’s Vineyard

If they run out of food farther north, snowy owls may be forced to spend the winter here.

What wild creatures eat determines much of their behavior

It's not too much of a stretch to say that an ecological system is nothing more than the sum of the eating that goes on within it.

Turkeys, once native on Martha’s Vineyard, star tomorrow

Their provenance is murky, their lineage jerky, but on Thanksgiving who cares? We love our turkey.

Once rare on Martha’s Vineyard, titmice feel at home here now

Story of how tufted titmice ended up on Martha's Vineyard.

Black witch moth makes very rare visit to Martha’s Vineyard

Once a century or so, a representative of this very southern species appears on the Island.

A novel approach to lawns on Martha’s Vineyard

Lawns are hard to create on the Island. Interesting things happen when you let nature take its course.

Predation occurs in many forms in the natural world

The behavior of predators is varied, clever, and fascinating, and the acts of killing and consuming are dramatic.

Manmade changes affect natural world on Martha’s Vineyard

As the Vineyard climate warms, southern species start to appear here more frequently.

The grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids of Martha’s Vineyard

There can be great pleasure in getting to know a whole new universe of critters who share theI Island with us.

The fight to protect Martha’s Vineyard from invasive plants

Plants from away keep trying to get a foothold on the Island, and they're not always welcome.

Conservation moorings minimize impact on harbor bottom

A novel approach to mooring tackle reduces the impact on eelgrass and critters that like to live in it.

Poison ivy challenges Martha’s Vineyard naturalists

Exploring outdoors on the Island often means contact with poison ivy. Respect the vine and the misery it can impart.

Martha’s Vineyard naturalists catalog mid-summer butterflies

Last Sunday, July 17, five liberally sunscreened butterfly enthusiasts took to the field for the 12th annual Vineyard Butterfly Count.

A butterfly made for harsh Martha’s Vineyard habitat

The Edwards' hairstreak thrives in the inhospitable environment of the sterile, salty sandplains along the south side of the Island.

Hummingbirds extra plentiful on Martha’s Vineyard this year

Vineyard birders are enjoying a bonanza of hummingbirds this year, but there's no way to know why.

American ladies are beautiful and plentiful on Martha’s Vineyard

With the beginning of June and the end (one hopes) of this year's dismal spring weather, the butterfly season is in full swing on the Vineyard.

Ecological and profitable landscaping on Martha’s Vineyard

You'd probably welcome a thousand-acre conservation project on Martha's Vineyard that didn't cost anything. Impossible, right?