Our Elusive Black-billed Cuckoo

A Black-billed Cuckoo perched on a tree branch with its head cocked to the left

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

You must have the bird in your heart before you can find it in the bush.” – John Burroughs Locusts and Wild Honey, (Burroughs, 1895)

I never knew Black-billed Cuckoos existed until a few hours after an early evening encounter near the end of May, and that’s where this bird tale begins. First, however, I must establish I do not qualify as a “birder” by any means. I have no interest in creating a life list of bird species I have seen, but I take great pleasure in watching Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the feeder and listening to the cheerful song of House Wrens nesting in my arbor.

Continue reading

Bullfrogs: Masters of the Swamp!

A young bullfrog in pond, its bottom half is submerged in the water

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life.Charles Darwin

Darwin’s timeless quote might just be the perfect mantra for the American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus), the largest frog in North America. This giant of a frog is heard far more often than seen. It is a major player in Oakland County ponds and wetlands and an integral part of its watery environment.

Bullfrogs can weigh well over a pound and be almost eight inches long. Their appetite is even larger than their size. Unlike other frogs that just wait patiently at the edge of a swamp to snag a passing bug or dragonfly with a lightning-fast sticky tongue, bullfrogs lunge open-mouthed at unsuspecting passing prey.

Continue reading

Wild Moments of May

A 2x2 collage of photos that includes a yellow lady slipper orchid, an Eastern Bluebird, a shagbark hickory terminal bud, and a white trillium

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.” – Henry David Thoreau The Journal, 1837-1861 (Thoreau, 2009)

Nature’s way springs to life in May with greening of the woodlands, the blooming of wildflowers, bird song at sunrise, and delightfully longer hours of daylight. It’s the month that not just every naturally curious child, but every adult, should embrace the joys of nature’s way. May is also a month of surprising finds and totally unexpected encounters in wetlands, woodlands, and along our trails.

Continue reading

David Coulter Builds Oakland County’s Future Now in 2021 State of the County Speech

Oakland County Executive David Coulter stands on a stage delivering the 2021 State of the County Address

Oakland County Executive David Coulter Celebrates Resilience of Residents, Employees, and Businesses During Pandemic

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter declared his vision for building Oakland County’s future now in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic during his 2021 State of the County address Wednesday evening. It included an announcement that the Oakland80 initiative, geared to leading our state in getting 80 percent of the county’s adults a college education or certificate training by 2030, will kick off later this year by providing navigators and success coaches to help residents plot out their career goals.

“We don’t need to wait for the end of this pandemic to build our future. We must start now, “ said Coulter, who premiered his annual speech on social media from Stagecrafters at the Baldwin Theater in Royal Oak without an in-person audience present due to coronavirus precautions. “The Oakland80 program will get underway this summer and will fan out across the county to give residents the assistance they need to complete college credits or skilled training programs.”

Continue reading

How To Watch: Oakland 2021 State Of The County Address

The 2021 Oakland County State of The County address will air next week on Wednesday, May 19th, at 7 p.m. from Stagecrafters at the Baldwin Theater in Royal Oak in a virtual format in order to comply with Coronavirus precautions.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter will speak to the resilience of Oakland County’s people, employees and businesses as they’ve endured 14 months of living with COVID-19, perhaps the most challenging public health and economic crisis of our lifetime. His look ahead will include how his administration is building Oakland County’s future now and the county’s priorities for investing its $244 million share of the American Rescue Plan.

Continue reading