#837 The ethereal cricket chorus


In the foreground we hear the chirping of crickets, played at normal speed. In the background, an ethereal chorus sings rising and falling notes, like a meditation inspired by the spirit’s search for meaning. The chorus is made up of…


#825 Eerie world of the sea

Octopus emerging from camouflage

The sea is vital to life on the planet, yet its mysteries are seen by so few of us. One of the best ambassadors for the astonishing creatures at home in the watery world is David Gallo. He gives us…


#791 They brake for toads

Western toad adult

Around the third week of August, millions of western toadlets begin their migration from the shores of British Columbia’s Summit Lake to their destination in an upland habitat. And every year the tiny creatures, about the size of a dime,…


#780 Invasive plants get their goats

Goats grazing at Ed Levin Park

Farmers know more about invasive plants than any of them want to know. When I farmed in the Cariboo region of central British Columbia, I became entirely too familiar with the purple blossoms and spiny leaves of Canada thistle. Pigs…


#776 Down in the muck, up in the stars

Flightless dung beetle

Consider the lowly dung beetles, whose cuteness factor is nil but whose usefulness is high. They are one of nature’s humble custodians, rolling feces into balls that are their sole source of food. They are so devoted to their clean-up…


#756 Homing pigeons have built-in GPS

Pigeon love

From a pigeon’s point of view, city living has loads of amenities and few drawbacks. Flat surfaces abound, perfect hideaways for nesting and roosting. Humans are exceedingly careless with food scraps and leave pigeon banquets in their wake. Predators are…


#753 Wild dolphins call each other by name

Bottlenose dolphin

Scientists have known for a while now that dolphins have distinct whistles to signal each other. What they are just learning is that they use signature whistles the same way we two-legged, land-hugging mammals use names. Researchers at University of…


#731 Dogs as drug and alcohol therapy

Santorini Stray dog

This is one research project I am glad includes animals, both canine and human. Lindsay Ellsworth is a doctoral candidate at Washington State University in Pullman. She is conducting the first study of its kind, testing whether spending time with…