Island Science

Take Down Your Feeders
Island Science

Take Down Your Feeders

A mysterious bird illness has been plaguing songbirds in the eastern US this summer. The specific cause and mode of spread are still unknown, but it has been spreading. State and federal wildlife officials, researchers, and birders are concerned, and investigations continue to find a cause. With many breeding songbirds on-island, local conservation groups are keeping an eye out for the mysterious illness that has yet to be reported in Massachusetts.

Black Tailed Prairie Dogs
Island Science

The Problem with Prairie Dogs

As an invasive species plant ecologist, I work a lot with non-native plants, their invasion history and how and why plants were transported to the island. One fascinating and little-known fact about invasions on Nantucket actually comes in the form of a small, cute mammal. One of the biggest invasive species problems Nantucket has ever faced was the black-tailed prairie dog.

Lone Star Tick
Island Science

Ick! A Tick! What to Do

eastern, south-central, and mid-Atlantic states, their distribution has been expanding. Lone Star ticks can now be found as far west as Colorado and Wyoming and as far north as Maine. They now co-occur with blacklegged ticks in coastal Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket, Tuckernuck, Martha’s Vineyard, Naushon, and Cuttyhunk.

A Berry Good Season
Insider Tips, Island Science

A Berry Good Season

July is upon us, and it’s high season on the island. When traffic is too much and you can’t find a parking spot by your favorite beach, it’s a perfect time to get out on one of the many trails around the island. We are fortunate that there are so many trails created and maintained by our dedicated conservation organizations. With efforts by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, the Nantucket Land Bank, the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, Mass Audubon, the ‘Sconset Trust and more, we all have plenty of options to choose from.

Common Milkweed by Sarah T. Bois
Island Science

Take the 2021 BioBlitz Challenge

July is peak season for many things on Nantucket. It can be the most difficult time to get an ice cream cone or a parking space, as many of us know, but it’s also peak growing season – when the highest biodiversity is visible on island. Blooming flowers, ripening berries, budding fall asters, and fledgling birds abound. There is so much to see in every habitat across the island. What’s the best way to see and enjoy this multitude of species? Join in on the Nantucket Land Council and the Linda Loring Nature Foundation’s July Bioblitz Challenge!

Photo By Tom Griswold
Island Science

Magic of Dark Skies

My first summer on Nantucket, in 1998 as a Maria Mitchell Association intern, was a magical experience for many reasons. Not the least of which was my first time to the beach at night. I will never forget the excitement of riding my bike in the dark with the other interns to catch a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower one August summer night. Before I even saw one shooting star, I remember the awe-inspiring moment of looking up and seeing a sky full of bright twinkly stars. In a place like Nantucket, on this tiny island in the sea, the sky seems to go on forever into the ocean. Forget the sunsets that people “oooh and awe” about. The night sky of Nantucket is where the real show is!