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Rich Bard

Rich Bard photo courtesy of Rich BardRich Bard is a wildlife biologist who began his career as a zookeeper. Having spent most of his adult life moving around the country working with various wild animals, he settled near the coast of Maine in 2004. Amid the striking beauty of this remote region, he passes the time with his family, hiking, snowshoeing, gardening and watching the tide ebb and flow.

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Leave The Trail Behind
Explores the ecology, wildlife and quirky weirdness of nature—and the challenge of trying to live a life of substance in this materialistic world.
The Journey Is the Destination: Traveling the Unbeaten Path
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Wilderness photo by Alexis MondayHiking off the trail is the physical equivalent of free association. Think jazz with your daypack on. Jackson Pollack in hiking boots. With each step, you have 360 degrees to choose from. You have no agenda, no destination, no appointments to keep. You're out for a hike (or snowshoe in the winter), open to seeing what you see, making it up as you go. Now that's my kind of hiking. In fact, it's such an integral part of my life that I named my blog after it. Read on…

Shorebirds: A Miracle in the Flesh
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Willet photo by J Mita StudiosAlbert Einstein said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Personally, I believe we are able to flip back and forth between these two extremes, though we tend to take most of the natural world for granted most of the time. Predictable natural phenomena, like gravity, the homing instinct of a honeybee and a six-year-old boy's fascination with butts become hum-drum, everyday occurrences. Every now and then, though, we hold up one of these miracles to the light, take a good look and become lost in the vast mystery of our natural world. Read on…

When Is a Coyote Not Just a Coyote?
Monday, 12 May 2014 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Coyote Courtesy of DefendersenewsWhat exactly is the creature that roams the forests and fields of the northeastern US and eastern Canada under the name “coyote?” Can it be the same species as that found in the western US, an animal half the size of its eastern counterpart? Is it a completely different animal? Or is it some combination of coyote mixed with dog or wolf genes? I’ve written about coyotes a few times now and, based on the comments I get, people want to know more about this mysterious creature. Read on…

A Frog Blog
Thursday, 19 September 2013 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Frog photo by Hamed SaberI'm standing in the dark, eyes closed, brow furrowed in concentration. For five long minutes, I remain as still as possible. I'm listening to the chaotic chorus of croaking frogs from a nearby wetland and I don't want to miss a single note of this pastoral symphony. A cough, a foot shuffling in the sand on the road shoulder, even the sound of my pant legs rubbing against each other can mean I may lose some important data.

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Project (NAAMP) enlists volunteers who each "adopt" an amphibian survey route. Several times a year, depending on where they live (it's three times here in Maine), they drive a mapped route, stopping at ten predetermined locations to listen for frogs and record which species they hear. Read on…

Ghost Traps Haunt Our Beaches and the Ocean Floor
Monday, 15 July 2013 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Lobster Trap Washed Up on Maine Beach photo by Rich BardThere is a certain stretch of beach that I walk regularly. Being part of a naval base, it is closed to the public, but I have permission to do shorebird surveys there. Only once in three years have I seen another person’s footprint in the sand, most likely from a boat that landed there.

As I walk slowly along the sandbar, focusing on identifying and counting birds, I could easily forget about the outside world of man, except for one problem: the tons of trash that wash up on the shore of this otherwise pristine little paradise that I have all to myself. Read on…

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