Welcome to The Miracle of Nature – Celebrating Nature Near at Hand

Join us in our celebration of the wonder and beauty of nature. On these pages you will discover inspirational and educational videos, photos, sounds, and stories ... multimedia creations that will delight your senses, engage your mind, and lead to a greater appreciation of the natural world.

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Ten Most Recent "NatureWatch" Titles:

Snowy Tree Cricket – Nature’s Thermometer

Snowy Tree Cricket - featured image © Lang Elliott

Perhaps the most familiar of our tree crickets, the Snowy Tree Cricket (Oecanthus fultoni) is a species whose chirp rate can be used to estimate the temperature. One popular formula is to count the number of songs given in thirteen seconds and then add that number to 40 to yield the temperature in Fahrenheit. That’s seems easy enough, so why not determine for yourself the approximate temperatures … [watch video & learn more...]

Buggin’ Fun

buggin-fun featured image

Buggin' Fun" ... that's a new phrase that I've coined. It refers to how much fun it is to "go bugging" ... that is, to go lookin' for bugs and other neat stuff. Everybody does that, right? Or at least kids do that, right? Well, this kid definitely likes to go buggin' ... especially in midsummer, when insects of all sorts come into their own. Let me tell you about one such excursion: Early one … [watch video & learn more...]

Wood Thrush – Forest Flautist

Wood Thrush © Lang Elliott

Lee-o-lay-o-lee, will you come live with me, away high in a tree? ... that's how I describe the Wood Thrush's singularly beautiful song. Starting with soft grunts (heard only at close range), the flutey song usually rambles upward and then terminates with a variable trill. Each male has about a dozen different song patterns, some sounding very similar to one another (he actually has many more, if … [watch video & learn more...]

American Toad – Dreamy Triller

American Toad - featured image

For me, the trilling of toads in spring marks a rite of passage … my personal passage from the leading edge of spring into its full-bodied explosion of creativity. When I hear the toads singing, wildflowers bloom below, leaves unfurl above, and songbirds drip from the sky like rain. Toad trills not only lift my spirits, they draw me out of myself and thrust me headlong into the full glory of … [watch video & learn more...]

American Robin – Harbinger of Spring

American Robin - featured image

The American Robin (aka "Robin Redbreast") is perhaps America's best-known songbird, easily recognized by its brick-red underparts and dark gray head, back, wings, and tail. A common backyard bird, the melodious songs of males given at the break of dawn bring back memories of childhood security and one's newfound excitement for life. Interestingly, the "American Robin" was named by English … [watch video & learn more...]

Water Speaking Water

Water Speaking Water - featured image

Water holds all life, residing both outside and inside, above and below. Mesmerizing and hypnotic, water is a gateway, a portal, an “open door” into a magical realm. Water is an artist and magician, forever dancing in the light, transforming all that it touches and all that it sees. Flowing slow or fast, or not flowing at all, water wraps around objects, reflects colors and forms, and spawns an … [watch video & learn more...]

The Snow Trekker – Jefferson Salamander

Jefferson Salamander - featured image for NatureWatch profile page

Sometimes the rites of spring begin surprisingly early, when snow still blankets the frozen ground and ice still covers the ponds and pools. In hardwood forests from Kentucky to Vermont, there is an endearing “tailed” amphibian that emerges from his subterranean home during rainy nights when winter still grips the landscape, and willingly traverses snow patches on his way to vernal pools to breed! … [watch video & learn more...]

Spotted Salamander – Migration & Mating Frenzy

Spotted Salamander – Head Shot

As winter yields to spring and the ground begins to thaw, a mysterious subterranean creature stirs in forested habitats of the East. Aroused into action when rainy weather moistens the earth and temperatures rise, Spotted Salamanders emerge at night and migrate in mass to their aquatic breeding sites, truly a spectacle to behold. Breeding as early as December in southern areas and as late as … [watch video & learn more...]

American Woodcock – PeentMeister

American Woodcock - featured image

The American Woodcock is one silly-looking bird. Plump and roundish, it has a long fleshy beak (for feeding on earthworms), big round eyes (for excellent night vision), mottled leaf-like coloration (for protection from predators), and it bobs up and down when it walks (to the delight of all who watch). Ranging over most of the East (see map below), woodcocks are members of the shorebird family. … [watch video & learn more...]

Spring Peeper – Mighty Midget

Spring Peeper - Featured Image

The piercing peeps of the Spring Peeper are one of the most well-known frog calls of the East, although most people have never actually seen one and some mistakenly think the peeps are being made by crickets. Only an inch long, it is one of the earliest frogs to breed, choruses erupting in ponds, ditches, and pools after the first “warmish” early spring rains, and then continuing for a month or … [watch video & learn more...]

Ruffed Grouse – Stump Thumper

Ruffed Grouse - Featured Image

Among the most amazing rites of spring is the territorial and courtship "drumming" display of the male Ruffed Grouse, a chicken-like bird of hardwood and mixed forests in northern and mountainous areas (see range map below). Especially during the hour before dawn, the male perches atop a log or stump and periodically beats his wings into a mad blur, producing a series of very low-pitched … [watch video & learn more...]