• A photo of a goldenrod plant in bloom.

Glorious Goldenrod!

Hazy, late afternoon summer sun. Blue skies, drowsy hum of busy insects, and calls of bobolinks, song sparrows and eastern meadowlarks. Picking blackberries. Old fields behind the barn, seas of yellow and green, stand out in my mind’s eye. Deep breaths of that crushed scent – lingering and distinct – bringing the outdoors inside

  • A close up photo of the eldeberry inflorescence (flower)

Respect Your Elderberries

Despite being scruffy, warty, and alien-looking, common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a magnificent shrub. It is hugely beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife and produces a fruit that is prized for food and medicine alike. Elderberry is also incredibly hardy, fast-growing, and prolific, making it a surefire choice for restoration plantings. Though it is

Of Willows and Willow Flycatchers

Fitz-bew! This year I didn’t hear the familiar bird song until mid-May. I was checking up on a riparian forest buffer site which I am always delighted to visit. The landowner is enthusiastic, generous, and a great steward, and had recently enrolled in the Alliance’s buffer program to reforest a wet pasture that is

The Covert Next Door: A Bobwhite Quail Story

It was a warm spring late afternoon several years ago, much like it finally is now as I write this article. My wife and I were walking our dog and young children around our rather suburban neighborhood outside of Annapolis. We had just turned the last corner onto our road when I heard a

Forests for the Birds – An Egg-Sighting Edition

Think Spring! At the Alliance, we have birds on the brain. After a few months of colder weather, shorter days and muted colors, we get excited to see the first signs of Spring throughout the Bay watershed. From the first erupting skunk cabbages, budding willows and blooming wildflowers, to the early courting songs

Forest Birds: The Spice of Life!

When you hear the phrase, “forest birds,” what comes to mind? Tall, mature oaks and pines spanning ridge tops? Riverbank guardians of sycamore and willows? Thick, young stands of aspen and birch? Low-lying bottomlands of red maple and black gum? The amazing assortment of plant communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed sets the stage

MLB: Major League Birds

Are you missing professional sports as the nation pulls together to slow the spread of COVID-19? In case watching old games is getting...well...old, we figured that our first ever Forests for the Birds celebration of spring would be the perfect occasion to highlight the avian Major League Baseball mascots and the teams that endear

  • A single trout lily plant growing among the leaf litter on a forest flower.

Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers: Fleeting Friends of the Forest Floor

I love being in the woods at all times of the year. I’ll even gladly take the bitter cold of winter or sweltering heat of summer. But forests in the spring are exciting! A good month before most trees leaf out, another cadre of old friends return to our lives: spring ephemeral wildflowers. There

Gearing Up For Spring Tree Plantings!

Despite the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been facing lately, it’s technically not spring yet. In fact, our Chesapeake Forests Team is just beginning to prepare for the spring riparian buffer, or streamside tree, planting season in Pennsylvania. The two main ways we prepare for planting season are by live staking (propagation by cutting) and flagging

  • Close up of a single American woodcock.

Big Romantic Gestures from the Little American Woodcock

Romance is in the air. For the American woodcock (Scolopax minor), that’s a literal statement. The courtship ritual of the woodcock is the most elaborate that I’ve seen outside of Homo sapiens, and is a must-see for lovers of forests, birds, or flirtation. In the southerly parts of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, lucky residents

  • A close up of the flower, rudbeckia

Resolve to Lose a Little Lawn in 2020

There are many good reasons to have a lawn. A lawn can be used for overflow parking, a space for children and dogs to play, or as a stable surface for heavy foot traffic around buildings and houses. But about ten percent of the land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is lawn cover. Do

  • Photograph of a monkey slug.

Otherworldly Creatures: you have to see it to believe it!

Folklore is a popular topic of conversation this time of year, and the Philippines, a country consisting of more than 7,600 islands in Southeast Asia in the Pacific Ocean, generates its fair share of ancient, creepy and mythical beasts. Consider the aswang (or evil shape shifter) known as Gumon. The Gumon literally has killer