Lafayette Park Blog

The Lafayette Park Conservancy (LPC) sees a lot when it looks at the park. We like to share those observations with you from time to time. They may deal with nature or people, events or history – a random assortment that you’re free to browse anytime.

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IDENTITY THIEF

IDENTITY THIEF

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we’re twenty years into the Information Age so I’m pretty sure everyone in this courtroom knows that, to quote a famous New Yorker cartoon, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The anonymity baked into...

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD The snow we've been getting lately provides visible clues to who’s been out and about in the park. Bird feet don’t usually offer much insight into genus and species, fox and coyote paws are hard to distinguish from those of domesticated canines,...

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STICK IN THE MUD

STICK IN THE MUD

Next time the Weather Channel predicts a cold front, with or without a “wintery mix,” ask yourself if the people peeking out from fleece hoodies, swaths of scarves, turned up coat collars, and balaclavas as they hunch toward the warmth of home look more like bears… or turtles.

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OASIS

OASIS

The heat of summer can make any body feel dry as dust. But wild animals, especially those species who can tolerate living near people, usually have an easier time finding some moisture when the mercury rises than when it falls.

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SILENT FLIGHT

SILENT FLIGHT

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD The natural world outside my Midwestern door is preparing for a long winter nap. Cozy quilts made of homespun leaves keep tree feet from getting too cold. Seeds and insect eggs, the harvest of the previous growing season, have slipped into...

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FRUIT LOOPY

FRUIT LOOPY

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Whenever I see a Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) at this time of year I'm reminded of  my days as Executive Director of the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, back in the late 1990s. For a few weeks every winter, the Waxwings would appear...

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EIGHT IS ENOUGH

EIGHT IS ENOUGH

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small bird who raises large families. Having a lot of children isn’t uncommon in the natural world but titmice parents are unusual in that they often follow the sitcom script for managing...

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HOMEBODIES

HOMEBODIES

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Anywhere you hang your hat is home, or so the saying goes, but the same holds true even if your cap is actually a cluster of rose-colored feathers, or even a cloche of streaky tan and taupe.  Perhaps we rarely see a House Finch...

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SLURPY

SLURPY

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD You know how there's always that last bit of liquid in the glass, just a few drops, that's resistant to lift-off no matter how many times you re-position the straw or how much suction force you apply?  Well, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers...

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ENDEMIC IMMIGRANTS

ENDEMIC IMMIGRANTS

A prominent German-American publisher in St. Louis at that time, sponsored the Transatlantic voyage of a dozen Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus, aka German sparrows) and representatives of 5 other species from his fatherland. Hoping to establish colonies in the Missouri Rhineland, shortly after their arrival the itinerant avians were released into the park.

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EXCEPTIONAL

EXCEPTIONAL

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD "He sure does have a chip on his shoulder!" That statement is a metaphor... ... except when it isn't. Taken literally, this idiom for describing someone looking for a fight may also refer to the ornamental insignia on a military uniform, or the...

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FISH, OUT OF WATER

FISH, OUT OF WATER

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Sometimes, what may appear as indolence, indecision, or timid reluctance is, in fact, a strategic decision to bide one's time until the moment is right. Consider, if you will, the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). These stocky...

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BIRD IS THE WORD!

BIRD IS THE WORD!

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Hey all you Blueberry Hill Jacks and Jills! Check out this crazy crooner and his backup chicks with their keyboard-themed threads and choreographed grooves!  Good Golly, Miss Molly, this nifty summer act is a blast!  Give the Black-and-White...

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CLOAK AND DAGGER

CLOAK AND DAGGER

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Shhhhh!  Don't make a sound or you'll blow his cover. Just sit quietly and watch. Butorides virescens, aka the Green Heron, is a master of stealth and stillness. He* doesn't work for the CIA or MI6; he's a freelancer but not a...

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LEARNING CURVES

LEARNING CURVES

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Do you remember being 15 years old and walking out the door of your local DMV with a learner's permit in your sweaty hand? Perched on the edge of your family-of-origin nest with wings outstretched, ready to fly into the unfettered sky of...

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SLINGS AND ARROWS

SLINGS AND ARROWS

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD I wonder if Henry knew that not everything that shoots into the air falls back to Earth. I'm not denying the sovereignty of gravity but if the arrow is a male common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) hoping to impress a potential mate he'll...

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BASKET CASE

BASKET CASE

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD We can argue until the chickens come home to roost about which 19th century influencer said it first, industrialist Andrew Carnegie or author and humorist Mark Twain, but there's little dispute that most birds wholeheartedly agree with the...

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SOCIALLY DISTANT

SOCIALLY DISTANT

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD Lately, when I'm feeling especially stressed or anxious, I find it comforting to escape reality by watching a sitcom episode, or three, from "the before-times" (shorthand for "everything prior to the first quarter of 2020, when the world changed...

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RED-HEADED STRANGER

RED-HEADED STRANGER

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD If the stranger hoped to slip into the Square unnoticed he went about it all wrong. Sure, choosing a plain white top beneath an unadorned black waistcoat might sound like a reasonable way to avoid detection, especially when one is hanging...

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SUMMER STOCK

SUMMER STOCK

BY KIERAN LINDSEY, PhD All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. An astute observation by the Bard, but a bit misleading. Had Will but ventured beyond the Globe Theater’s door he may have realized that humans aren’t the only animals who...

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