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Ask Dr. Universe: Do birds have nostrils? Can they smell?

Birds have nostrils, or nares, on their beaks that can help them smell all kinds of things. That is what I found out from my friend Dave Oleyar, a scientist with HawkWatch who recently taught a course on ornithology at Washington State University.

Reader photo: Watching for visitors

Gary Miller took this photo of a female black-headed grosbeak on Tuesday near Four Lakes. “Staying home and staying healthy isn’t so bad when there’s a variety of birds visiting,” he said.

Upcycled Life: Sewn paper birds

Paper birds sew up fast to hold a little treat or note to someone close by. Deliver a flock to someone in your house or a neighbor while out for a walk.

Reader photo: A splash of winter color

“House finches can really add a lot of color to gray days of winter,” Buck Domitrovich writes. He took this photo in Cheney last Thursday. Web extra: Submit your own outdoors-related photographs for a chance to be published in our weekly print edition and browse our archive of past reader submissions online at

Alaska birding adventure on Spokane Audubon agenda

One of the youngest members of the Spokane Audubon chapter – 18-year-old Curtis Mahon, an Eastern Washington University student working on a wildlife biology degree – will talk Nov. 13 about the birds, bears and other wildlife he saw and photographed during this past summer when he worked in Denali National Park in Alaska.

Christmas is many months of joy for holiday early birders

Holiday early birds, you know them. They already have most or all their Christmas gifts stashed. But with less than 100 days until Dec. 25, you might consider some steps now – especially around handmade creations or to update decorations. Here are some tips from a few early birders.

In the Garden: Planting for the birds reaps many rewards

This summer, my husband, Bill, and I have been treated to some delightful interactions with the birds in our garden. We’ve enticed hummingbirds to sit on our fingers while they sipped from tiny feeders and watched baby quail blissfully napping in the shade of the daylily patch.

Michael Parr: Do we care that the birds are disappearing?

Birds are a critical part of the natural food chain, and this loss of birds represents a loss of ecological integrity that, along with climate change, suggests that nature as we know it is beginning to die.