As a planetarium presenter, I'll occasionally overhear somebody say, "The only constellation I can find is the Big Dipper," as he or she walks into the planetarium theater. I've also heard people say that the Big Dipper is their favorite...
Many of us watch in fascination as fireflies light up our lawns on summer nights. What makes fireflies glow, and why do they do it?
New Zealand's Kakapo parrot is critically endangered. What is this bird like, why is is endangered, and what is being done to save it?
The Egyptian vulture is an endangered bird species from Europe, Asia, and Africa. What is an Egyptian vulture, and why is this bird endangered?
The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, is easily recognizable once you know how to find it. Where and when should one look to find the Pleiades star cluster in the night sky?
The North Star is one of the most famous stars in the sky, even though it is not the brightest star. What kind of star is the North Star, and why is it so special?
Sometimes called "the undertaker bird," the Marabou stork is common in Africa. What are some facts about this unusual-looking bird?
The words "cicada" and "locust" are sometimes used interchangeably. Is there a difference between a cicada and a locust? If so, what's the difference?
Why do cats drink out of the toilet? Why do they lick our hair? Here are the reasons behind these and a few other common but weird cat behaviors.
They may not speak English, but domesticated cats "talk" to us and to each other. We're all familiar with the meow, purr, and hiss. What do these (and other) feline sounds mean?
There are many misconceptions floating around, and several of them have to do with our furry and feathered friends. Here are just a few of the more common animal misconceptions.
Does your cat leave small animals (dead or alive) at your back door? Does she leave toys at the foot of your bed? Did you ever wonder why cats leave such "presents?"
As Autumn arrives, the leaves in many trees lose their green color and put on a bright display of red, orange, yellow, and purple. Have you ever wondered about the science behind these color changes?
With the resurgence of reported cases of the West Nile virus, news stories about this virus have been circulating once again. I work and volunteer at a nature center, and many of our visitors have been asking questions about their risks. A few of my...
While not as common as cats and dogs, birds are popular pets. However, some people believe keeping caged birds is cruel, even if the birds are well-cared-for and are allowed plenty of time outside of the cage. Here's a bird owner's point of view on the topic.
The words "vulture" and "buzzard" are used interchangeably in parts of North America. Is there really a difference between the two birds, and if so, what is it?
Many zoos, parks, and petting farms have free-roaming peacocks on the grounds. These places also post signs asking visitors to please not feed the animals. Many people ignore this and offer the peacocks french fries, chips, and other junk food. Here's why you shouldn't do that.
Horses and humans have had a close relationship for thousands of years. The bond between the two species may have weakened in recent times with the invention of "motorized carriages" and tractors, but horses are still common in rural areas, our...
Birds often show up in common English idioms and proverbs. Have you ever wondered where phrases such as "a little birdie told me" or "it's for the birds" came from?
Cats and dogs have made their way into our hearts and homes over the past several thousand years, so it's understandable that they frequently appear in our language. The origin of a phrase such as "fighting like cats and dogs," is obvious, but have...
Many animal lovers enjoy the company of both cats and birds but are afraid to keep both pets in the same house. Here's how it can be done.
Birds need more than store-bought seeds and pellets, but which fruits and vegetables are safe for your bird, and how do you get him to eat them? Getting a bird to eat his fruits and vegetables can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Here's how.
When people think of their favorite birds, vultures are rarely on the list. Here's why vultures are special to me, and why they are among the earth's most important species.
Birds have enchanted humans for millennia with their songs, colors and their ability to fly. We put out bird seed and set up bird baths and bird houses. Avid birders buy expensive binoculars and cameras, and even go on special trips to watch birds. While your average person appreciates cardinals,...
It's hard to figure out what to say or do to help your unemployed friend feel better. Here are few things that you probably shouldn't say.