#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…


#726 Kids raising funds to save Tasmanian devils

Blackwell children

Tasmanian devils need all the friends they can find, and the three Blackwell siblings have stepped up to volunteer their efforts. Louis, Alice and Isaac began their fundraising efforts in 2011. The Blackwell family lives in Perth, Western Australia and…


#655 Meet organics’ new friend, the fruit fly

Fruit fly

When a 16-year-old from Plano, Texas has her research published in a peer-reviewed journal, I take notice. When the research supports my bias toward organic produce, I pay special attention. But her giving me a new appreciation of fruit flies…


#628 Birds-of-Paradise Project inspires awe


They have tramped through the jungles of New Guinea, Australia and nearby islands. They have hung precariously from trees. They have carried hundreds of pounds of photography gear. Thanks to the dogged efforts of Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Ed…


#621 Freshen your home with cow poo

Bali cattle

Seriously, they want me to spray cow poo around my house after I’ve cooked something particularly malodorous? According to a post on Treehugger, that is exactly what Dwi Nailul Izzah and Rintya Aprianti Miki have in mind. The two bright…