Doug Pifer

Wake Up: It’s Later Than You Think.

March sneaks up on me. I still consider it the beginning of nature’s year when the earliest spring birds and flowers appear. But now there’s a somber side to nature’s awakening—an odd, empty feeling, like wakin...
Doug Pifer

Winter is Party Time for Crows

People might say a crow is a crow, but in the Potomac and Shenandoah Valley, when you see a crow it could be one of three different species. By far, the most common is the American crow, followed by the slightl...
saw-whet owl

Tracing the Travels of Saw-Whet Owls

The caravan of cars reached the top of South Mountain. A couple-dozen riders emerged into the night, bundled into parkas and wearing winter coats. As we inhaled crisp November air, our ears were blasted with a ...

Bringing Back Bob (Part 2)

— Everyone Can Help Restore Wildlife Habitat On our wall hangs an ammunition poster printed in the 1940s featuring a crouched rabbit and ten Bobwhite quail. Painted by sporting artist Lynn Bogue Hunt, it cel...
Doug Pifer

Welcome Back, Bob White!

The whistled call, “Bob-White,” is seldom heard here anymore. But that may be about to change. Interested farmers and landowners in Virginia and West Virginia now have an opportunity to bring the cheerful littl...

Rough-Wings Are Somber Swallows

I saw my first rough-winged swallow when I was a teenager fishing along a creek in western Pennsylvania. I thought it wasn’t much to look at. It had a graceful swallow shape, but otherwise it was plain and dull...
Doug Pifer

Otters Are Back in our Rivers

On August 25, my wife and I saw a road-killed otter on Route 45 (between Martinsburg and Shepherdstown) near where it crosses the Opequon Creek. We decided this was worth a second look and returned later. Th...