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On the Wing: Birding With the Dead

Summer is perhaps the worst time of year to bird. You’re birding but you’re not really birding. Leave your binoculars at home. Leave your iPhone and Merlin app in the car. This is not for that. Instead, stroll through the cemetery, grow thoughtful, and let the birds, many of which will live only a few years, be your soundtrack.

Jul 3, 2024
Montauk Beaver Meets Its End on Highway

A beaver that likely arrived at Hither Hills State Park in the ocean surf last April and then built a lodge in a secluded part of Fresh Pond in Hither Woods was found dead on the side of Montauk Highway Tuesday morning. 

Jun 13, 2024
On the Wing: A Majestic Dump Dweller

If given the opportunity, a turkey vulture would eat you, your kids, and your little dog, too. Other bird species may be struggling, but the turkey vulture is doing just fine eating dead things. Yes, with increasing signs that the end is nigh, the turkey vulture is a strong candidate for Bird of 2024.

Apr 3, 2024
Coyotes Make Further Inroads on Long Island

Coyote sightings on the North Fork this autumn and a month ago in Bridgehampton are not surprising to those who study this wide-ranging mammal. Coyotes have never bred in Suffolk County, but with one-off sightings increasing in frequency, the question isn’t if they will breed here but when.

Jan 11, 2024
A Bird Count for Everyone

November is the month when a dedicated group of citizen scientists begin to count birds as part of Project FeederWatch, a Cornell Lab of Ornithology program now in its 37th year. It’s simple. Go to, pay $18, learn how to report your birds, get some swag that will help you make proper identifications, and you’re on the team.

Nov 2, 2023
A Spate of Dead Birds In Montauk

Industrial Road, because of its geography and development, has long been a dangerous area for birds. One woman has found 11 dead gulls near the PSEG electrical substation there since late June, and it's not just gulls that are dying.

Jul 27, 2023
Another East Hampton Village Elm Succumbs

If you’ve walked by the Ladies Village Improvement Society headquarters on East Hampton Main Street or waited at the Hampton Jitney stop in front of it, you may have noticed an elm with its bark cut away in a neat strip around the tree’s circumference. “Won’t that kill the tree?” one curious walker asked The Star two weeks ago after spotting it. The answer is yes, but it may also help save others nearby from Dutch elm disease

Jul 27, 2023
Bees Also Have Needs in Winter

While the bees are mostly hive-bound and slowed by the cold of winter, it’s not a time of rest for a beekeeper.

Jan 26, 2023
Studying the Dining Habits of Deer

In an attempt to get a handle on the impacts of the region's outsize deer population, East Hampton Town established a new fenced-in deer “exclosure” in mid-October in Northwest Woods. The idea of it is pretty simple: Deer are restricted from feasting inside the fence, so that the plant life inside “can be compared to vegetation outside of it to determine the impact deer 'browse' is having.”

Dec 1, 2022
On the Wing: We Should Call It the Zebra Bird

You don’t need to go deep into the woods to find a red-bellied woodpecker, but if you're looking for a distinctive red belly, you won't find it. Instead, its head is red, which explains why people often misidentify it as the red-headed woodpecker, which hardly shows up on Long Island.

Dec 1, 2022
On the Wing: Turkeys, Turkeys, Everywhere

It’s hard to decouple the turkey from Thanksgiving, but long before we paired turkeys with mashed potatoes and stuffing and turned them into a national symbol, they were going about their business, hanging out in gangs, flipping leaves, and browsing the ground for nuts.

Nov 24, 2022
An Unhealthy Obsession With Leaf Removal

On the South Fork, it seems the moment a leaf falls to the ground it becomes a nuisance to be blown, corralled, and carted to a landfill. But leaving at least some of those leaves be can be healthy for your lawn and your other plantings.

Nov 17, 2022