When my life is in balance, I just know it. There is no formula. The mix of what creates my personal balance changes over time and is likely not the same way you find balance. Hopefully, if some elements of my life become too demanding, I can make adjustments and put life back into balance. Ecosystems are like that. They are dynamic, like our lives. Sometimes there are more plants being eaten this year than last by the deer population, or several young trees die because of the drought. But somehow the ecosystem mends itself. It evolves with new plants and animals and finds a new balance. And the cardinals and the foxes and frogs still come back to the garden.
About a decade ago, I started to notice that rain storms felt more violent, as if mandated by some mythical storm troll who controlled the skies. Weather had changed, yes, but not because of imaginary attackers, in spite of my paranoid delusions.
In fact, extreme precipitation is a predicted consequence of the cumulative effects of climate change; these events are often accompanied by flooding.
How does a cricket taste? That’s what I was thinking recently while watching a mother bird feed its fat, hungry babies. As it happens, Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago has an insect chef serving crickets on the weekends this summer, so I had the chance to find out!
Last Sunday, while visiting the zoo’s Xtreme Bugs exhibit with Daisy, I tasted crickets prepared two ways: toasted with Cajun spices (tastes like crunchy sunflower seeds) and in sweet banana-cricket pancakes. No legs and no antennae tickled my tongue. Just crunchiness.
It’s the middle of May, and that means we are in the teeth of bird migration season. In fact, International Bird Migration Day just took place over the weekend, celebrated by bird watchers the world over. But there’s a challenge that looms large for migratory birds, and not surprisingly perhaps, it’s put there by us humans.
According to experts we talked to, between 100 million and 1 billion birds die in North America every year due to building collisions, mostly in the fall and spring. (This number doesn’t even include collisions with wind turbines or communication towers.)
You’d think birds could just fly around buildings; you’d be wrong. For numerous reasons, navigating flight through a place like Chicago is far more dangerous for birds than flying through dense woodlands. Listen to the podcast for a full convo with Field Museum ornithologist and ecologist Doug Stotz and Annette Prince of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors.
With spring gardening season in full effect, we thought we’d dive into the topic of native plants. During the first EcoMyths segment on Worldview, Kate Sackman and Jerome McDonnell get the dirt from DePaul University ecologist Dr. Liam Heneghan, and Dr. Andrew Hipp, curator of the Morton Arboretum. And for more fun-filled info, read the full myth here.