Thom Smith | Naturewatch: Earth Day is more than one day a year

Just as Passover has eight days, and Christmas has twelve, Earth Day has 365 with an extra day added every four years.

Impetus for Earth Day's birth on April 22, 1970, began with Rachel Carson's New York Times bestseller "Silent Spring" in 1962.

This national day focusing on the environment came from Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson (June 4, 1916 - July 3, 2005), then a U.S. senator from Wisconsin.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats.

Since 1970, Earth Day has been a catalyst for ongoing education, action and change.

Today we realize care for our home world must not be exaggerated on any one day or by any one group or in any one community. We must all treat this sane movement universally for our survival and the beauty of our world.

It is time to act responsibly and continue to improve what we have for our children's children, not degrade recent progress.

Please, Mr. President Trump, don't stop its momentum.


QI have a problem with a weasel invading birdhouses and eating the eggs and baby birds. Two years ago, I put up two birdhouses around the property without incident. The two nests went unmolested; the baby birds fledged and eventually flew off. Last year, I re-sited the two birdhouses and added two more in new locations. All had nesting pairs, laid eggs and — in two cases — there were baby birds.

Then the weasel struck. Over the next few weeks, all the nests were destroyed, eggs broken open and baby birds taken. At one point, I caught him in the act and the marauding weasel was chased off temporarily.

I would like to put up birdhouses again, but fear that the result will be similar to last year.

Is there any way to weasel-proof birdhouses inexpensively? Or should I just forget about putting up birdhouses any longer?

— G., Hinsdale

AI am sorry to hear this news, while at the same time wonder why I have not heard of this from readers before. I might suggest that the culprit is an ermine, which is smaller than the long-tailed weasel and a female ermine that is even smaller than the male. Ermine often kill more than they can eat and do include songbirds in their diet.

My suggestion is to remove the house and slip PCV pipe over the supporting pole. This will prevent the predator from climbing to the house and its inhabitants. The PVC, purchased at most hardware stores should only be large enough to fit. And as an added measure, place the houses away from trees.


It is time or well past time to take in the bird feeders for the season. You may have noticed that the variety of wintering birds has decreased, and the frequency of marauding bears has increased (take in the feeders even if you haven't noticed). It is also time to get out for a walk in the woods to enjoy the delicate greens sprouting everywhere and the numerous flowers, that over the next month will be displaying themselves for all to enjoy — a little self-centered on my part, because these early budding plants emerge and flower to take advantage of the more intense sunlight available to them before the woodland canopy of leaves begins to shelter them.

We in The Berkshires and Southern Vermont are especially fortunate having numerous "wild" places to enjoy year round. Don't miss out on early spring. For this writer, Pittsfield is particularly fortunate having Springside Park, the state forest, Canoe Meadows, and more protected land with a wide variety of natural entertainment.

Thom Smith welcomes your questions and comments. Email him at or write him care of The Berkshire Eagle, 75 S. Church St., Pittsfield, MA 01201.


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