Bryan's Posts About Science

Life Among the Dead

Here in one of our great museum collections, I find warmth, diversity, shock, awe and innumerable stories of life on Earth.

The Troubling Buzz on Bees

From my colleagues at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies: More than one-quarter of Vermont’s bumble bee species, which are vital crop pollinators, have either vanished or are in serious decline, according to a new investigation from the Vermont Center for…

War and Climate and Us

War and Climate and Us Required reading in The Times from Roy Scranton, a soldier, author and philosopher. In this gripping essay about war, climate and humanity is our future – a fate with scarce shelter in the Anthropocene. Scraton writes: Now, when…

The Crap Around Montpelier

Blogger’s Note: This post, first published on October 23, 2013, has been revised following the installation of some wonderful “poop stations” around Montpelier and adoption of a new Code of Conduct for dogs and people in Hubbard Park. Dear Montpelier…

Hub Vogelmann (1928-2013)

Although the word conservation suits the laws of physics and the prevention of waste, its highest calling is in the preservation of nature. Conservation is now synonymous with the protection of life outdoors. Yet a protector is now gone. Legendary…

Monhegan Report No. 5: The Fallout

From the heavens at dawn came warblers to Monhegan. Even before the sunrise would make them glow, before they found the trees and insects, we heard the yellow-rump’s thin “seep!,” the blackpoll’s high “tzzeet!” and the palm’s rich “sink!” – the flight sounds of a fallout on Monhegan Island. In the dim light of dawn, we stepped outside to sip coffee and listen to our day of birds approaching.

Monhegan Report No. 4: Going North

Here on Monhegan Island, during supper with Jane Curtis, now about 92, we ventured no further than the frontiers of books and art and conversation about people on a tiny island.

An Overdue Tribute to Sally Laughlin

Nearly 30 years ago, soon after moving to Vermont, I made the pilgrimage of any self-respecting birder and field naturalist. I visited Sally Laughlin in Woodstock. Tall, elegant, brilliant, imposing, and driven, Sally welcomed me into an office of paperwork…

“Settled in Quivering Contentment”

Like most of you, I spend my summer leisure time contemplating the proboscis of the Primrose Moth, which is about half the length of its body.

Avian Infidelities

Blackbirds do it. Chickadees do it. Even educated emus do it. Some birds are cheaters. Their trysts, dalliances, one-morning stands, and other infidelities would constitute a racy script for a wildlife soap opera.

Twisted Duck Sex

The screwy truth — and kinky experiment — about how female ducks have evolved a strategy for sexual assault.

Migration’s Misfits

Pick your favorite sign of spring: squirrels mating, mud oozing, maples flowering. Mine is a vulture soaring. Change in the air is a naked, ruddy head gliding in on big wings. But more than being a vernal messenger, the Turkey Vulture is an avian iconoclast. It topples simplistic notions of migration.