View from Heifer Hill

These columns, written by BEEC naturalist Patti Smith, appear in the Brattleboro Reformer on the first Saturday of each month. They feature the animals she has been studying, including the beavers of Popple’s Pond, Fretful the porcupine, and the animals she has assisted as a wildlife rehabilitator.

Nature vs. Nurture, The Making of Voldemort July 2017: In which we learn how epigentics can shape personality, at least in some rodents.

Wild Child  May 2017: In which Burdock the porcupine returns after a year on his own.

Woodcock and the Silly Walk April 2017: In which we ponder the woodcocks’ locomotion.

Winter Bluebirds March 2017: In which we learn about overwintering bluebirds.

A Beavers’ Winter Night February 2017: In which we visit Charlie the baby beaver and the beavers’ winter world.

The Circumnorthern Club January 2017: In which we visit the wildlife of Norway.

Compassionate Coexistance December 2016: In which Skip Lisle installs a beaver deceiver.

An Anomalous Beaver November 2016: In which we meet a late season baby beaver.

The Adventures of Thistle October 2016: In which we meet an independent orphaned porcupine.

Moose: Icon of the North Woods July 2016: In which we contemplate the future of our region’s moose herd.

The Scottish Beaver Trial June 2016: In which we learn about the reintroduction of Beavers in Scotland.

Porcupines at Play May 2016: In which we spend a last spring evening with the porcupines and witness new behaviors.

The Fraternal Order of the Porcupine April 2016: In which we observe porcupine interactions.

A Tough Break for the Beavers March 2016: In which we find the beavers’ dam broken, and see how they deal with the crisis.

The Social Porcupine February 2016: In which Burdock the orphan joins the wild porcupines.

Beaver Moon December 2015: In which we visit Willow the aged beaver on a full moon night.

Mikie and Julia Take to the Trees October 2015: In which odd littermates gain their independence.

A Prickly Situation September 2015: In which we meet Burdock, an orphaned porcupine.

Hopkins’ Leap July 2015: In which an orphaned flying squirrel makes her first glide.

A Dreadful Departure June 2015: In which Dandelion the Dreadful strikes out into the world.

Waxing and Waning May 2015: In which we visit an old beaver in the flush of spring.

Dandelion the Dreadful, porcupine film star April 2015: In which Dandelion proves a most uncooperative subject for a BBC film.

A Barrelful of Woe February 2015: In which a fisher is found dragging a trap.

Seafaring Beavers December 2014: In which we find beavers on an offshore island and ponder other swimming mammals.

Call of the Wild November 2014: In which Dandelion the Dreadful seeks independence.

My Friend Fretful October 2014: In which we bid farewell to Fretful.

A Dreadful Summer July 2014: In which Dandelion the orphan porcupine learns the ropes.

King of the Porcupines July 2014: In which an aged Fretful returns from the wilderness.

A Dreadful Beginning June 2014: In which a porcupine is born in trying circumstances and begins an unusual childhood.

A Fretful Farewell May 2014: In which Fretful is evicted from his his territory by a rival.

A Fretful Ordeal April 2014: In which Fretful suffers trauma and visits the veterinarian.

Flotation Devices March 2014: In which Fretful demonstrates porcupine adaptations to winter.

Beechcombing November 2013: In which we encounter Fretful far from home and learn how porcupines feed in the fall.

A Fretful Summer August 2013: In which Fretful and I encounter each other in the forest and we learn about porcupine summers.

Quickening April 2013: In which spring comes to Fretful and the other porcupines.

A Fretful Winter  February 2013: In which we find a porcupine in a predicament.

An Expeditious Beast December 2012: In which we learn what shrews are all about.

A Fretful Halloween November 2012:  In which Fretful comes Trick or Treating, takes shelter from a storm, and in which Fluffy the porcupette makes her debut.

Quill Bear October 2012: In which Fretful the porcupine demonstrates porcupine adaptations and has a romantic encounter.

Fretful September 2012: In which we first meet Fretful, learn about quills, and receive a porcupine kiss.

Hideaway Pond August 2012: In which which we visit Ducky the beaver in a new home.

Old one eye July 2012: In which we meet a sweet old opossum.

The Awesome in Possum June 2012: In which a pile of possum pups teach us about their unusual qualities.

Bean May 2012: In which a tiny orphan red squirrel finds a home.

Space April 2012: In which dispersing beavers introduce the concept of limits.

Jewel of the Northwoods March 2012: In which we spend time with a mother black bear via a den cam.

Bear Bedlam February 2012: In which we visit the scene of a bear cub party.

Beavers of Balsams January 2012: In which we pay a visit to the beavers on a cold, sparkling night.

Ducky Diary December 2011: In which we visit Ducky and Growler and think about the value of a journal.

Dirty bear November 2011: In which we follow the tracks of a bear seeking a den.

Irene September 2011: In which we visit the beavers during tropical storm Irene.

Crotalus horridus October 2011: In which we visit Vermont rattlesnakes.

Spontaneous Generation August 2011: In which dog day heat dries up the salamander pools.

Fireflies July 2011: In which we learn about the complexities and dangers of firefly communication.

Snowberry & Skip June 2011: In which we meet the Beaver Deceiver.

Sources & Sinks April 2011: In which the beavers teach us about an important ecological concept.

He who Laughs February 2011: In which we consider, and admire,  the persecuted coyotes.

Of Oaks and Squirrels January 2011: In which we consider the role of squirrels in forest ecology.

High Water December 2010: In which the beavers celebrate a sudden abundance of water.

Nuthouse November 2010: In which we learn about squirrel behavior from some growing orphans.

Reducks October 2010: In which Ducky, the wayward young beaver, is rediscovered.

Roo the Real Rabbit September 2010: In which a pet rabbit survives a month in the wildeness.

Willow August 2010: In which Willow the beaver demonstrates maternal courage.

What Do You Know July 2010: In which assumptions about beaver behavior are challenged.

Lake Dismal in June June 2010: In which we enjoy prime time with a beaver family.

Beavers in the Hood May 2010: In which we meet some new beavers.

Foul and Loathsome April 2010: In which we seek the elusive black racer in Vermont.

Mink Envy March 2010: In which we spend time in the glorious winter habitat of a mink.

Screaming Fisher February 2010: In which we learn about the sounds that animals make and don’t make.

Subnivea January 2010: In which we explore the realm beneath the snow.

Let it Snow December 2009: In which we learn about how beavers prepare for winter.

Clan of Revelers November 2009

Lake Dismal October 2009

Flying CircusSeptember 2009

Stealth Beavers August 2009

Terrible Jack, July 2009

Another Moose, June 2009

Meeting a Moose, May 2009

February Hare, February 2009

Back to the Beavers, April 2009

Bobcat Tour, March 2009

Ice Storm, January 2009

Ice, December 2008

Crazy Like Ed, November 2008

The Moose That Stole My Bicycle Helmet, October 2008

Ducky, September 2008

Minor Nation, August 2008

It’s a Jungle, July 2008

Familiarity, June 2008

Evenings with Henry, May 2008

April Showers, April 2008

Whispering Pines, February 2008

Porcupine Paths, January 2008

A Long Winter’s Nap, December 2007

Great Expectations, October 2007

Nighthawks, August 2007

Bear Necessities, July 2007

Dining at the Maple Shade, June 2007

On the Web, May 2007

Fever, April 2007

March of the Salamander, March 2007