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A pair of barred owls that has made its nest on the Paw Paw Nature Trail. The male owl, pictured, has come so close as to sit on the border of the Back Deck of the Museum.

A couple of feathered friends have recently returned to the Museum.

A nesting pair of barred owls (Strix varia) has been hanging out close to the Back Deck and on the boardwalk. They are less afraid of people than owls typically are and have caused quite a stir.

The male owl has come so close as to sit on the border of our Back Deck and was the only one we were seeing for quite some time.

One night while I was closing Fort Wild, I noticed another barred owl. I knew she was different because the plastic line of a transmitter was pointing out from her back. This device does not harm the… Keep reading.

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Copperheads have a distinct hourglass pattern on their skin. Young copperheads also have a bright green tail. Photo credit: Virginia Herpetological Society

We’ve recently had a number of visitors bring in or send our Naturalists pictures of snakes they have killed, mistakenly believing the snakes were copperheads when they were harmless rat snakes or racers.

These snakes are non-venomous and extremely beneficial. They prey on vermin such as mice, rats, squirrels and chipmunks, which can cause destruction to your home.

Copperheads eat rodents and also can be helpful. While you might not want them in your yard, they can be safely relocated by a trained professional.

The blog post below, originally published May 20, 2014, can help you ident… Keep reading.

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Amphibians such as salamanders are indicator species. They are sensitive to changes in their ecosystem and can alert humans to environmental issues.

Ecosystems are very delicate. We know that if we take too many tuna out of the ocean, it will cause problems in their habitat because everything will go off balance.

It is easier for us to put limits on fishing or hunting but sometimes there are issues we cannot see happening, such as too much acid rain or water pollution in an area.

This is why indicator species are incredibly important to humans. An indicator species is a living thing that tells us something is wrong with a habitat or ecosystem.

Usually they tell us by not growing or surviving. If a certain area all of the sudden do… Keep reading.

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Mulberries grow on the mulberry tree and look similar to blackberries.

Today, I noticed the first buds on the trees. What a refreshing feeling! Although most days it still feels like winter — I continue to rue the day Queen Charlotte saw her shadow — spring is on its way.

With spring comes the best thing of all: free food! We have a grocery store in our backyards, if we know where to look.

Wild edibles are a delicious way to add incredible flavor and nutrients to your meal, from greens for your morning tea or summer salad to the walnuts that top that salad.

My favorite wild edible is the mulberry. These berries grow on the mulberry tree and look similar … Keep reading.

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Marvin Bouknight, Charlotte Nature Museum director, names the Eastern Screech Owl as his favorite Museum resident.

Maybe you can't ask a mother to choose her favorite child, but you can ask a naturalist to choose a favorite animal!

Although we don't play favorites when it comes to caring for the animals that live at Charlotte Nature Museum, certain animals hold a unique appeal for our equally unique staff members.

Marvin Bouknight, director
I have been interested and excited about any and all wildlife as long as I remember. When I was 13 years old, I saw a film in school about owls and became fascinated by them and the ornithologists that were studying them. Knowing that I was interested in birds an… Keep reading.

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A visitor found this crow skull and exchanged it as part of our Nature Trading Project.

Our newest program at Charlotte Nature Museum is our Nature Trading Project.

It has been a lot of fun seeing visitors get excited about the interesting natural materials they find outside. There have been some pretty neat objects brought in.

So how exactly does it work?

Our Coordinator Gail stocked a cart completely full with oddities we found in our Museum, as well as around the grounds. Three times a month, the Trading Post opens for business. You can find out dates and time by looking at our Upcoming Events.

Come in with your object and either start an account to accrue as many poi… Keep reading.

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