The Mystery of Bird Migration

All around us, nature is full of wonder and mystery, and migration illustrates this well. It’s an amazing natural occurrence that seems simple enough. Birds leave the northern regions in the fall, before the onset of winter. They spend the coldest months farther south, and then return in the spring. But while this may sound easy, it’s not the whole story. Migration is one of the most difficult and dangerous things that birds do. Migration is basic and yet extremely complex. Avian biologists and naturalists have learned a lot about it, but, even with our advanced technology, there are still many aspects that are not fully understood. For example, how does a young bird that just recently hatched know when it’s time to migrate? How does it know where to go? How does it find its way, and how does it know it’s in the right place when it arrives? These are just some of the questions that have baffled...

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Eerie Rosehill Cemetery Encounter

Jeff Duke shares with us an eerie encounter at the Rosehill Cemetery in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Larry sat in his truck for a moment and finished his coffee and breakfast, basking in the warm air that was blasting from the old truck’s heater. He was not looking forward to being out in that bitterly cold air today. He enjoyed taking care of the cemetery. He wasn’t confined to some stuffy office and constantly having to deal with coworkers or the public in general. With this job, he was mostly on his own. As long as he didn’t give his boss something to complain about, he rarely saw him. But, on days like this, Larry wouldn’t mind being stuffed into a warm office somewhere. As he sat and washed the last of his Egg McMuffin down with coffee, he noticed that one of the office lights was on. He was sure he’d turned it...

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Bird Trivia: Amazing Facts to Wow Any Bird Lover

Bird Trivia: Funny, Strange, and Incredible Facts about North American Birds is Stan Tekiela’s latest book that’s perfect for the entire family.  Birds are some of the most beautiful and graceful animals on the planet. It’s truly a wonder to observe their fascinating behaviors. Yet even the most seasoned bird-watcher doesn’t know everything about our feathered friends. Acclaimed naturalist and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela has taken a deep dive into the magnificent world of birds—and he has compiled some of the most incredible, outrageous, unbelievable facts you’ll ever read. Why do some birds like to cover themselves with ants? Which birds can mimic the sounds of humans? Paired with Stan’s famous bird photography, Bird Trivia provides hours of enjoyment and is worthy of sharing with family and friends. Give the book as a gift, or keep it for yourself. You’ll sound like a birding expert within minutes! About the author: Naturalist, wildlife photographer, and writer...

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The Life Cycle and Behaviors of the Common Loon

Dozens of photographers from around the world have come to Stan Tekiela’s home state of Minnesota to photograph and learn about the life cycle and behaviors of the common loon, the iconic bird of the Northwoods. Here is his report! The common loon (Gavia immer) is one of five loon species found in the world. The others are the red-throated loon, black-throated loon, Pacific loon, and yellow-billed loon. In other parts of the world, the common loon is known as the great northern diver. The origin of the common name “loon” isn’t very clear. The word seems strange to my ear. It appears that it comes from the old Scandinavian word lom, meaning “lame” or clumsy or awkward when walking on land. This describes these birds perfectly. Their legs are positioned so far back—and also off to the sides—of their bodies that they are unable to walk upright on land. Their chests...

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How Jeff Duke Became Interested in Ghosts

In today’s post, Jeff Duke, author of Ghostly Tales of Mississippi, shares with us how he became interested in ghosts and all things paranormal. When I was a kid—probably around 7 or 8 years old—my mom came home with a box of Honeycomb cereal. On the back of that box was a record of The Headless Horseman that you could cut out and play on a turntable. While I was scared of the Headless Horseman story, I was terrified of the picture on the record. I remember actually screaming one time when somebody hid that record in my bed so that it would be the first thing I saw when I pulled the covers down. I was terrified of that thing. But I was also kind of excited and intrigued by it. I think that’s when my love of horror and scary things began. On Friday nights, you would always find me up...

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Bancroft Home to a Sixth-generation Family-owned Farm

In her book Little Michigan, Kathryn Houghton takes a nostalgic look at Michigan’s smallest towns; today, she takes us to Bancroft. Bancroft is home to the Van Agen Sod & Tree Farm, a sixth-generation family-owned farm. The Van Agen family, originally from Belgium, first started their farm in Roseville, Michigan, but when the construction of I-94 broke the farmland into three sections, they moved to Bancroft, where they have been selling sod ever since. The History of Bancroft In 1877, the Chicago and Lake Huron Railroad extended to the place where Bancroft now stands. N. S. VanTuyl selected the site to begin a lumber business, and he built the first frame structure in the area. The village was officially platted in that year, after a previous platting had gone unrecorded, and its post office, which is still in operation today, opened. John L. Simonson was named the first postmaster, and the first village elections...

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Bird Migration: The Incredible Journey of North American Birds

We are thrilled to announce the publishing of Bird Migration: The Incredible Journey of North American Birds, by naturalist and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela. Bird migration is a wondrous occurrence. It captivates our attention beginning in childhood. Where are the birds going? How long will they fly? How did they know it was time to leave—and how will they know when to return? Stan Tekiela has been studying and photographing the birds of North America and their migration patterns for more than 25 years. Now, the award-winning author and naturalist presents his insightful observations and entertaining photography in a one-of-a-kind coffee-table book. Stan’s photography captures the birds in action and depicts behaviors that are sure to surprise and delight, while the text makes for easy yet informative browsing as it shines a light on the questions we’ve held since youth. Migrating birds of all shapes and sizes and from all parts of the U.S....

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A Visit to the Upper and Lower Rose River Falls

Join Randall Sanger, author of Waterfalls of Virginia & West Virginia: 174 Falls in the Old Dominion and the Mountain State, on a visit to the Rose River Falls. The Rose River Falls hike is a pleasant stroll through beautiful forest; the stream parallels the trail about halfway into the hike. From the parking area, cross to the east side of Skyline Drive to the trailhead. Follow the Rose River Fire Road for a very short distance, and then turn left onto the Big Meadows Horse Trail/Rose River Loop Trail. At 0.5 mile, when the Horse Trail bears to the left, continue on the Rose River Loop Trail, and at about 1.3 mile in, you’ll arrive at the Upper Falls. You’ll have to scramble down from the trail a short distance to reach the stream. You can continue on this trail to Dark Hollow Falls and then hike up the Rose River Fire Road...

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