Sharon Wootton

Black bears are waking up from hibernation this time of year

Beware: These eating machines tend to look for the easiest and closest source of high-protein food.

 

Unlocking the mystery of the marbled murrelet took 5 years

Writer Maria Mudd Ruth’s book details the bird that can fly 100 mph and dive into the ocean for food.

 

UW’s Burke Museum moves to a new space less than 500 feet away

The 113,000-square-foot building is the 21st-century version of the 57-year-old cramped museum.

 

Visit the 9 coolest interpretive centers in our state parks

Most are free, many have child-oriented exhibits, some offer tours and others have outdoor areas.

Robin gets creative when embedding nest into a stepladder

Nest-builders don’t have to be a feathered Frank Lloyd Wright to keep their eggs safe and warm.

Quiz: Test your outdoors knowledge with these odds and ends

Answers to the pop quiz can be found at the bottom of this column.

The ever-fascinating crow gets attention, from Everett to India

Scientists study whether they’re a conscious being, while a local resident worries about changes.

Despite high winds, bird count sees record volunteer turnout

The 2018 Christmas Bird Count by the numbers: 125 species, 35,328 birds and 126 birdwatchers.

Andy Bronson / The Herald
                                A flock of snow geese take to the air along Conway Frontage Road in Conway.

Look to Skagit Valley skies and waters for trumpeter swans

Glimpse the white birds with black bills and long necks while driving on I-5 through Skagit County.

Andy Bronson / The Herald
                                A flock of snow geese take to the air along Conway Frontage Road in Conway.

UW-Bothell studying how crows communicate with each other

About 16,000 of the birds roost each night on the North Creek Wetland Restoration near the campus.

Attention snow enthusiasts: Make Mount Baker your destination

No matter what your non-motorized winter sport, the area offers you places to play with easy access.

More deer wearing radio collars for predator-prey study

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is assessing the impact of wolves and cougars on deer and elk.

Snow geese, swans returning to Skagit Valley

The Fir Island Farms Reserve Unit is the best place to view the beautiful white birds.

In the mood for a romp in the snow? Get your permit first

Winter recreation permits are for skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, tubing and more.

A man photographs Vaux’s swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8 in Monroe. Olivia Vanni / Herald file)<div class="adL"></div></div><div class="adL"></div></div></div><div class="hq gt a10" id=":118" style="margin: 15px 0px; clear: both; font-size: 12.8px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;"></div></div>
                                A man takes a photo of the Vaux Swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8, 2018 in Monroe, Wa. Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Thousands of Vaux’s swifts put on a show at chimney in Monroe

The Vaux’s Happening Project counted a third of a million of the wee birds migrating in Washington.

A man photographs Vaux’s swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8 in Monroe. Olivia Vanni / Herald file)<div class="adL"></div></div><div class="adL"></div></div></div><div class="hq gt a10" id=":118" style="margin: 15px 0px; clear: both; font-size: 12.8px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;"></div></div>
                                A man takes a photo of the Vaux Swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8, 2018 in Monroe, Wa. Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Birds on the brain: Stupefying facts from new avian research

Here is some of the latest information from bird studies that made the news this year.

Can you guess this rare bird? Hint: A group is called a ‘cloud’

One was spotted at Wiley Slough on Fir Island just last month, probably a fall migrant.

The moon is visible in the background as a multitude of migratory Vaux’s swifts flock to roost for the night inside a brick chimney at Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 13, 2016. (Don Ryan/AP file)

You can watch thousands of Vaux’s swifts funnel into a chimney

On Sept. 8, hang out at the Frank Wagner Center in Monroe to see the migrating birds dive right in.

The moon is visible in the background as a multitude of migratory Vaux’s swifts flock to roost for the night inside a brick chimney at Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 13, 2016. (Don Ryan/AP file)

Give rattlers a wide berth on the trail

The venomous snakes are shy and retiring — unless you blunder into one.

Missing your hummingbirds? Hummers come and go as they please

The birds are important pollinators of wild and agricultural plants, as well as those in gardens.