Southwest Michigan Wildlife columnist for The Herald-Palladium

Young male orchard orioles in their first year of life appear strikingly different than adult males which have reached one year of age and have molted into adult plumage. Because the young male orchard oriole appears so drastically different than the adult male, it causes confusion for many bird watchers.

The juvenile male appears olive green on its back and a yellow-green on the underside along with a distinct black bib. Males molt into their adult plumage of dark chestnut body with black hood and wings by August of their second calendar year of life.

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An eastern hog-nosed snake is seen May 21 at Warren Dunes State Park. This non-venomous snake is relatively common in well drained sandy soils throughout the Lower Peninsula.

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A black rat snake is seen May 18 in Royalton Township.


A small painted turtle is seen last month in a St. Joseph Township parking lot. The species grows rapidly, as this one will double in size by the end of the year.

Jonathan Wuepper is an area naturalist. Report your sightings to him at