How to Tell a Hairy from a Downy

The Outside Story By Lee Emmons On winter mornings, I often venture outside to photograph the assembly of birds that visit the feeders in my front yard. One of the regular visitors is the diminutive downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens), which clings to my peanut feeder, takes a nibble of suet, or forages in the nearby... Continue Reading →

A Timeline of Everything

[The news of the James Webb Space Telescope seemed lost in the news around the holidays, but it's an event of no small significance, as it promises to give us a look at an event that occurred 13.8 million years ago. When I told this to SB Sandy, she asked, "Can it see everything in... Continue Reading →

Snowy Owls

The Outside Story Suggested headline: Snowy Owls Irrupting By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul Word count: 835 Here’s a quiz for Harry Potter fans: What kind of owl played Hedwig in the movies? If you guessed a snowy owl, you’re correct. With their bright yellow eyes, bulky-looking bodies, and white feathers that cover everything from their beaks... Continue Reading →

Leon the Lobster

Note: Here are a couple of tips for getting the most out of Silverback Digest. If you receive email notifications of new posts, you should click on the title of the post, or the photo, to go to the full display. Otherwise, you are just seeing something that might be affected by your specific email... Continue Reading →

Self-Medicating Chimps

The master of self-medication | The Chimpanzee | Pan troglodytes [This one came from The Browser, a newsletter curation of good reading on the Internet. More on that later. SB SM] These great apes are primates, like us. Sure, they’re a little hairier, but they’re hominids. Like us, these creatures are amazing. Like us? It’s... Continue Reading →


The Outside Story By Susan Shea Most winters, the dark-eyed junco is one of the most common birds at my feeder. While I rarely see juncos in summer, except when hiking in the mountains, small flocks of juncos typically appear soon after I hang my feeder in early December. Due to their sudden appearance in... Continue Reading →

Snowball Fights in Art (1400–1946)

[This is from I like lifting their material, because it sourced and cited according to rigorous academic standards. Thus, it makes me feel smart to steal from them. BTW, I do support them financially, and it's ok if you do, too. Link below. SB SM] Detail from a color woodblock print by Utagawa Kunisada... Continue Reading →

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