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Features: On the Wing

Rough-legged hawk’s rare visit to Gettysburg strikes a chord

The battlefield was silent. The split-rail fence rose peacefully atop the grassy hillside. The sky, once filled with smoke and the smell of gunpowder, was the brilliant blue only seen in winter.

I had last visited the Gettysburg National Military Park decades earlier. The hallowed ground was even more moving than I remembered.

Reports that a rough-legged hawk had been seen here offered the rationale for the visit. I had never seen one. I was glad we came.

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For wren and writer, home is where the birdhouse hangs

Well before sunrise in early May it started: a loud chattering, burbling, cascading torrent of notes. From just outside our bedroom window, the birdsong filled the early morning air. It would continue virtually all day and go on well into the...

Common gallinule uncommonly delightful in any landscape

The bald eagles were everywhere we looked, soaring through the summer sky and perching on top of a half-dozen loblolly pines. There were mature adults and several younger birds, and all of it was exhilarating. My wife, Pat, had entered the...

Tricolored herons: Here today, but where tomorrow?

Dropping out of the opalescent sky with its neck neatly tucked back, the heron floated into view. Swinging its long legs forward at the last second, the graceful bird landed at the edge of an open pool of water. The blue-gray body stood out...

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About On the Wing

Observing the birds of our region brings perspective about their lives, and ours.

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