Wild animals are amazingly adaptable when given the opportunity. Many smaller forms of wildlife have long ago adapted to humanity, learning to live in our mist. For instance, robins, house sparrows, starlings and doves are all common fixtures in many urban yards. We even encourage such use, planting wildlife friendly plants, adding bird feeders, houses and baths and determinginhoping our yards can mitigate for some habitat losses elsewhere.
There are also less commonly seen animals, perhaps nocturnal or just shy, that also live among humans, often for decades without conflict. Studies in Chicago have found that coyotes now inhabit many urban areas but are rarely seen by the citizens. Since rodents are the most common item on the coyote menu, their role in controlling urban rats is likely significant.
But what happens when an animal decides that your home makes an equally good home for its family? Skunks, raccoons, garter snakes, bats and woodpeckers, all wonderful species in their own right, don’t make great housemates.
Or, what if the new neighbor is a mountain lion, black bear, grizzly or moose? These animals are potentially dangerous to humans and humans need to be aware of the dangers and how to minimize them.
It is interesting to note that not every landowner sees the same wildlife use of their property in the same light. What may be, "those darling deer" to one landowner may be "four-legged mowing machines" to their neighbor. And often, it is a matter of scale. One or two deer in the back forty might be great, a herd of thirty might create unacceptable damage to crops or ornamentals.
I spent several years of my career tasked with resolving wildlife/human conflicts and bring real world experience to this subject. This section of the website is dedicated to providing homeowners and landowners with recommendations for reducing conflict, damage and danger as well as how to encourage wildlife use when appropriate.
There are many animals that can potentially interact with humans so this site will be divided into the following categories: Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians and Invertebrates. I will write about these in no particular order, so if you have a question about a particular animal, use the Contact Us! button to request a profile on the critter you are dealing with.
"WOW. What a phenomenal piece you wrote. You are amazing." Jennifer Jackson
That is embarrassing but actually a fairly typical response to my nature essays. Since The Best of Nature is created from the very best of 16 years of these nature essays published weekly in the Idaho Falls Post Register (online readership 70,000), it is a fine read. It covers a wide variety of topics including humorous glimpses of nature, philosophy, natural history, and conservation. Readers praise the style, breadth of subject matter and my ability to communicate complex and emotional topics in a relaxed and understandable manner.
Everyone can find something to love in this book. From teenagers to octogenarians, from the coffee shop to the school room, these nature essays are widely read and enjoyed.
Some of the essays here are my personal favorites, others seemed to strike a chord with readers. Most have an important message or lesson that will resonate with you. They are written with a goal to simultaneously entertain and educate about the wonderful workings of nature. Some will make you laugh out loud and others will bring a tear to the eye and warm your heart.
"You hit a home run with your article on, Big Questions in Nature. It should be required reading for everyone who has lost touch with nature...great job!" Joe Chapman
"We enjoyed your column, Bloom Where Planted. Some of the best writing yet. The Post Register is fortunate to have your weekly columns." Lou Griffin.
To read more and to order a copy, click here or get the Kindle version
Copies are also available at:
Barnes and Noble in Idaho Falls
Harriman State Park, Island Park
Museum of Idaho
Valley Books, Jackson Wyoming
Avocet Corner Bookstore, Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Brigham City, Utah
Craters of the Moon National Monument Bookstore, Arco, Idaho