Emily Stone


Natural Connections - birds, animals, habitats

Content By This Contributor:

Thu. Jan. 29th, 2015

Three Dog Day

Emily Stone

In the absence of wolves, coyotes changed their behavior to fill the niche of an apex predator. By living in larger packs than usual – up to seven coyotes in a family group

Wed. Jan. 21st, 2015

The Magic of Yellowstone

Emily Stone

Since at least 1872, Lone Star Geyser has been erupting approximately every three hours. It begins with a heat source – shallow magma chambers left over from one of the largest volcanic eruptions known to have occurred in the world.

Thu. Jan. 15th, 2015

Plenty of Heart

Emily Stone

Blue sky peeked through two holes higher up in the trunk. I circled around to look down in, and by positioning myself at just the right angle, Kylee and I could see each other through the tree, her looking up and me looking down.

Thu. Jan. 8th, 2015

Woodpecker Niche

Emily Stone

ust a few minutes up the trail after seeing the hairy woodpecker, we again heard a tapping noise through the fog and sleet. Like déjà vu, a black-and-white checkered woodpecker clung to a birch tree

Wed. Dec. 31st, 2014

Hairy Woodpecker in the Fog

Emily Stone

Perpetual twilight cloaked the forest on the darkest day of the year. Even at noon, fog hung densely between us and the sun. Cabin fever had set in, and we felt like banging our heads against a wall.

Wed. Dec. 24th, 2014

Winter houseguests

Emily Stone

“Thunk” went the laundry as I crouched down to get a better look. Sure enough, a brown spider crouched among the dust bunnies and dog hairs.

Thu. Dec. 18th, 2014

Spinus pinus

Emily Stone

In the woods, listen for siskins’ wheezy contact calls, and look for their undulating flight. Flocks will often feed gregariously, and then swoop off one-by-one to the next tree.

Thu. Dec. 11th, 2014

Where are the loons?

Emily Stone

“Who’s there? I’m here,” may be the basic message in their wail. By speaking up, each loon reasserts that it is on its territory, and ready to defend against invaders.

Thu. Nov. 20th, 2014

Passenger Pigeons and Lyme

Emily Stone

Today my roof is buried under more than a foot of snow, and the drift is sliding off of the high-angle metal in a slow-motion avalanche. Not long ago, my roof hosted an avalanche of a very different kind – an avalanche of acorns.

Thu. Nov. 13th, 2014

Five things that improve after a hard freeze

Emily Stone

Reaching, stretching, I search almost manically for the little bog jewels. Ignoring back aches, ignoring the way that damp moss and damp breeze suck the warmth from fingertips, ignoring a friend who is not ignoring those things and wants to go home.

Thu. Nov. 6th, 2014

Lingering in Happiness

Emily Stone

We turned our faces toward the bluebird sky, closed eyelids against the brilliant sun, and soaked up its mid-afternoon warmth. Although the day was not especially warm, the whisper of a breeze let us keep every ray of the sun and every bit of heat

Thu. Oct. 30th, 2014

Blue jays

Emily Stone

Crinkly brown oak leaves danced across the path. My bike tires swished satisfyingly through drifts of leaves on the ground. Up ahead, a small flock of blue jays swooped across the road one at a time

Thu. Oct. 23rd, 2014

How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Emily Stone

Brace for impact,” advised a gray-bearded man wearing wire-rimmed glasses. Shaggy, dark brown curls tumbled out from beneath his tawny, felted hat, and the hundreds of mycologists in the audience could feel his excitement.

Thu. Oct. 16th, 2014

Bat in the Daylight

Emily Stone

It was the type of morning when gray clouds replace the entire sky, and the smoky gold of maple leaves seem to replace the sun. After a day of heavy rain, a damp calm had settled into the woods. Nothing moved except the occasional crumpled leaf

Thu. Oct. 9th, 2014

 Bats in the growing darkness

Emily Stone

Darkness encroaches on either side of my days. The growing shadows reveal new wonders and old friends, as does the lengthening daylight of spring.

Thu. Oct. 2nd, 2014

Eating Hedgehogs and Black Trumpets

Emily Stone

Have you ever eaten a hedgehog or a black trumpet? If you’re a mychophagist, you’re either nodding your head yes with excitement, or shaking it forlornly and planning your next foray to find some.

Thu. Sep. 25th, 2014

Hairy-Eyed Crane Flies

Emily Stone

The windows in my kitchen stay open throughout most of the summer. Various insects come and go, with dark fishing spiders – the largest spiders in the Northwoods

Thu. Sep. 18th, 2014

Rain Magic

Emily Stone

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life,” wrote John Updike. Throughout the night – and throughout the trip – the sky condescended on us numerous times.

Thu. Sep. 11th, 2014

The Woods are Not Silent

Emily Stone

Early September is the perfect time for a trip to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. The bugs are almost gone, the sun is still high, and crisp mornings make hot drinks taste even better.

Thu. Sep. 4th, 2014

Beautiful Invader

Emily Stone

In the road ditches, sandy areas, and in the parking area at the Cable Community Farm, one particular aster brightens up these sometimes scruffy landscapes with a pinky-purple color

Thu. Aug. 28th, 2014

Tongues of the Earth

Emily Stone

Astonishing indeed. The recent rains have watered the Earth like one of those old terracotta chia pets, and now mushrooms sprout from every sodden surface.

Thu. Aug. 21st, 2014

Kimchi Community

Emily Stone

Finally, I settled into picking the ingredients for my next culinary cultivation: kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made of fermented vegetables. I tried it for the second time last winter, and the spicy-sour flavors are growing on me.

Thu. Aug. 14th, 2014

Osprey Tragedy

Emily Stone

Sad as I was about the death of “my” local osprey, I was already formulating an article about the way that nature recycles itself, and no death is really the end of anything, only the beginning of many different things.

Thu. Aug. 7th, 2014

Blueberry Jam

Emily Stone

The scent of sun-warmed pine needles tickled our noses when we stepped out of the car. Scrambling up the sandy road cut -- buckets in hand

Thu. Jul. 31st, 2014

The Babes of Summer

Emily Stone

I’ve had the honor of being an aunt for 12 years, and just last week I was able to play with all four of my older brother’s kids.

Thu. Jul. 24th, 2014

Wonderful Webs

Emily Stone

Dusk had fallen quickly while we listened to Larry Weber—author of “Spiders of the North Woods,” retired middle school teacher, and ultra-enthusiastic naturalist from northern Minnesota—show slides of local spiders.

Thu. Jul. 17th, 2014

Hooked on the River

Emily Stone

Many hands make light work. Unloading the Canoes on Wheels boats (a Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters program that lends canoes to educational programs for free) at the landing went quickly

Thu. Jul. 10th, 2014

Firefly Fireworks

Emily Stone

Fireflies need marshy areas with rotting wood and forest litter to complete their life cycle. A few days after the stationary female and flying male hone in on each other’s titillating twinkles, the female lays her fertilized eggs just below the soil

Thu. Jul. 3rd, 2014

Sex in the Garden (aka pollination)

Emily Stone

Pollen is an amazing substance that has an essential place in nature, but it can also mean a mess of dust and allergies in the summer.

Thu. Jun. 26th, 2014

Master Naturalists

Emily Stone

The students learned that the basic plot of our Wisconsin story is universal: the landscape we see today is a result of geologic history, current climate, and recent disturbance.

Thu. Jun. 19th, 2014


Emily Stone

Different species are on different schedules, though. While we see dragonflies from spring to early fall, we are actually seeing a series of different species. Most adult dragonflies live only a few weeks, although some can live up to a year.

Thu. Jun. 12th, 2014

Field Trip!

Emily Stone

) These second graders are not yet practiced at speed reading while walking, and B) They were probably much too excited at getting off the bus to start their field trip to remember anything they might have read outside! I can’t say I blame them.

Thu. Jun. 5th, 2014

The Toads Wake Trilling

Emily Stone

Every spring, warming temperatures and longer days trigger those warty brown critters to try their hand at romance.

Thu. May. 29th, 2014

Wildflower Walk

Emily Stone

The hike to Morgan Falls and St. Peter’s Dome (also called Old Baldy by locals) in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has become a springtime ritual for me.

Thu. May. 22nd, 2014

Bird Muscles and Migration

Emily Stone

“What makes aerobic exercise so powerful is that it’s our evolutionary method of generating that spark,” according to Dr. John Ratey. “It lights a fire on every level of your brain…”

Thu. May. 15th, 2014

Risk and Consequence

Emily Stone

Wilderness medicine isn’t all about broken bones and serious accidents, though. Much of our class has been about determining if an ailment is serious or not serious, and making sure the minor things stay that way.

Thu. May. 8th, 2014


Emily Stone

I have to admire willow for its tenacity. It blooms when there is still snow on the ground, lives where its feet are continuously wet, thrives even in marginal soils, and grows back with renewed vigor

Thu. May. 1st, 2014


Emily Stone

Red-winged blackbirds gurgled and trilled their early spring song that is so energetic it seems to cause ice to melt and streams to flow.

Thu. Apr. 24th, 2014

Turkey Vultures

Emily Stone

Most people probably don’t associate these drab, brownish-black scavengers with spring--or even realize that vultures may have flown as far as South America for the winter

Thu. Apr. 17th, 2014

The excitement of spring

Emily Stone

Outside, a similar transformation is taking place. Bright sunshine and warm winds deconstruct winter’s snowdrifts. Eagles and osprey return as the rivers and lakes open up

Thu. Apr. 10th, 2014

The balance of fire and ice

Emily Stone

Early spring is a time of shifting balance. The ice, which had been winning the battle for months, finally starts to weaken in the face of an intensifying sun.

Thu. Apr. 3rd, 2014

The Black-Masked Bandit

Emily Stone

Well, that stopped me in my tracks. “Are you serious!?” I called back, nearly bursting with excitement. “That’s awesome!”

Thu. Mar. 27th, 2014

A Snowshoe Field Trip

Emily Stone

My question “what do bears eat?” brought many answers. “Humans?” Well, no, but berries, fish, honey, insects, deer (fawns), seeds, and garbage to name a few.

Thu. Mar. 20th, 2014

Great Horned Owls

Emily Stone

I usually hear great horned owls in early winter, as they form pair-bonds and defend territories in preparation for nesting season. These large owls don’t build their own nests, but take over nests made by crows, squirrels, hawks, or herons

Thu. Mar. 13th, 2014

A walk through the summer woods

Emily Stone

Soon we emerge from the deep shade of the forest into an emerald green field. Wild roses bramble along the edge between forest and field, the purple canes of blackberries are dusted with five-petaled, snowflake-white flowers.

Thu. Mar. 6th, 2014

Martens and Wind

Emily Stone

 American martens are one of the many creatures that exploit the subnivean microclimate. These small weasels tunnel through the snow to find food, stay warm, and escape predators.

Thu. Feb. 27th, 2014

Treasure Hunt Part 2

Emily Stone

As the Sax-Zim Bog northwest of Duluth gains fame for its unusual avian residents and visitors, human residents and visitors have added bird feeders here and there to increase viewing opportunities.

Thu. Feb. 20th, 2014

Treasure Hunt

Emily Stone

Just minutes before, we’d been scanning the far tree line—convinced that a pile of snow on a branch was the owl we’d been looking for.

Thu. Feb. 13th, 2014

Barred Owls

Emily Stone

The noiseless glide of soft, gray wings caught my eye. Then, stillness. No matter how hard I squinted, I couldn’t resolve the dark shape into a branch and the owl I knew had just landed there.

Thu. Feb. 6th, 2014


Emily Stone

Bright sun sparkled merrily over the rolling hills as I shushed along, working hard to glide over the cold, hard snow. In no time, I’d warmed right up, and my core temperature felt more like July than January.