Ask the Naturalist

A bird? A bug? Something strange in the natural world nearby? Ask us and we’ll find the answer! And check here for answers to great questions you didn’t even know you had. Top questions find their way to top naturalist Michael Ellis, who writes a column for our print magazine.

Ask the Naturalist: Why are deer droppings so tiny?

August 19, 2015 by Cat Taylor

Why are deer droppings so small? East Bay Regional Parks' Cat Taylor has the scoop on ungulate poop.

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Ask The Naturalist: Why Do Honeybees Clean Themselves?

July 30, 2015 by Eric Mussen and Elina Nino

Some have suggested that the inside of a hive is as clean as a hospital room. Maybe or maybe not. But honey bees are one tidy creature.

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Ask the Naturalist: What’s the Best Time and Place to See Meteors?

July 06, 2015 by Michael Ellis

What's the best time and place to see meteor showers from the Bay Area?

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Ask the Naturalist: Why Are Sea Hares Multiplying In Lake Merritt?

May 26, 2015 by Bay Nature Staff

Nearly 100 giant sea slugs have been spotted in Oakland's Lake Merritt -- and they're breeding! But why? We asked Cal Academy's Terry Gosliner about this sudden influx.

9 Comments

Ask The Naturalist: What’s That Weird Ball Coming Out Of That Bird’s Mouth?

May 14, 2015 by Allen Fish

For birds of prey, this may be the closest equivalent to a cat's hairball. The pellet is a necessary means to get rid of indigested material.

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Should I Plant Milkweed to Save the Monarchs?

March 03, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

The road to hell is paved with good intentions — or sometimes, with milkweed.

11 Comments

Ask the Naturalist: Do pelicans carry their babies in their pouches?

January 09, 2015 by Bay Nature Staff

A first-grade teacher asks: Do pelicans ever carry their young in their pouches? We asked International Bird Rescue for the answer.

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Ask the Naturalist: Where Do Birds Go When it Rains?

December 11, 2014 by Josiah Clark

Guest naturalist Josiah Clark reveals how birds cope with stormy weather.

6 Comments

What To Do When Ladybugs Make Your Home Theirs?

December 04, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Question: I have a lot of ladybugs in my living room and kitchen. Should I take them outside?

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Ask the Naturalist: Should I Be Afraid Of This Spider?

November 07, 2014 by Bay Nature Staff

Q: I've heard of a very large and scary-looking spider that can be found in the Santa Cruz mountains. Should I fear it if I encounter it in the wild?

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