Pikes/Pines | The great Capitol Hill eastern cottontail mystery of twenty eighteen

Has anyone else noticed the sudden appearance of rabbits on the Hill? Growing up in Seattle, I can’t recall many rabbits sightings. There were a few at Discovery Park, and there was the infamous colony in a rocky warren in Lower Woodland. Other sizable green spaces have rabbits as well, but it always seemed likely that the Hill and the rest of central Seattle wasn’t suitable. Turns out I was wrong.

Feral, domesticated rabbits are not unusual in cities overall. Often people assume they are easy pets, and disown them upon discovering otherwise. They hop about for awhile and I assume, are dispatched by cars or coyotes. But the bunnies we’re seeing aren’t domesticated, they’re eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus), and they’re suddenly everywhere. The real question is why? Continue reading

Twilight Tram Tour

Twilight is that time when people-activity in the Arboretum quiets down and we get to view this enchanting place in another light. Our open-air tram offers the ability to glide through the early evening hours in ease and explore the changes that start to occur as the sun goes down.

Dr. John Wott, Director Emeritus, will lead this journey through the many plants in the Arboretum’s world-class collection, while sharing the history of the park. Dr. Wott served as Arboretum Director from 1991 to 2004 and continues to serve as a passionate leader, teacher, and advocate for our programs and collections. With any luck, along the way on this special tour of the plant collections, you may have an opportunity to get acquainted with our resident nocturnal fauna, including bats, raccoons, and owls.

Birds: What Are They Up To Now? Class

What are birds getting up to during the summer? Our local birds are very busy with the “kids”, but they’re also getting ready for the big push south in the fall. Join master birder, author, and Seattle Audubon Conservation Chair Constance Sidles to find out exactly what our avian neighbors are doing this summer. Connie will show us what birds are up to, and share some delightful bird stories and facts.

CHS Pics | A new trailhead on Broadway

The start of a pleasant Saturday hike

Every hour or so Saturday and Sunday morning starting this weekend, hikers could set out from Broadway on their start of a climb up the most popular trail in the region.

The Trailhead Direct service Saturday celebrated its expansion to Capitol Hill Station with a bus breaking through a ceremonial banner and a collection of urban hikers ready for a day on the mountain. You can now take the bus from Capitol Hill to Mt. Si and Mt. Teneriffe on weekends through October, weather permitting. Continue reading

It’s harvest time for Capitol Hill and Central District ideas for urban gleaner City Fruit

With warmer days, those neighborhood blossoms will soon be neighborhood plums. But City Fruit, the urban fruit gleaning community dedicated to putting the bounty of Seattle’s edible forests to good use, is coming to the area later this month to harvest something else.

City Fruit reps are coming to a May 29th meeting at the Central District’s Douglass-Truth Library meeting space to and learn more how to get the word out about their programs, neighborhood trees ripe for the picking, and ideas on where its bounties could be best put to use in the area.

City Fruit: Harvest Advisory Forum – Central District and Capitol Hill

“Do you know of some public trees in the neighborhood that never are harvested? Want to be involved with a Harvest Hub? Let us know,” organizers write.

CHS wrote here about the many flowering trees found around Capitol Hill — many of them bearers of fruit. Happy harvesting.

Branches, Bark, and Buds: Winter Tree Identificaton

Do conifers confuse you? Do all deciduous trees look alike once the leaves fall? This class is for you, whether you simply need a refresher on tree identification or want to improve your existing skills. The class will begin at the Center for Urban Horticulture, with a review of basic tree identification techniques, use of taxonomic keys, and discussion of common landscape tree species and varieties found in the Pacific Northwest. This will be followed by an outdoor field session where you will practice what you have learned as we identify trees on the main campus of the University of Washington.

Taught by Bess Bronstein and Christina Pfeiffer

Free Family Weekend Walk: Swing into Spring

How do we know the seasons are changing? What lets us know that spring is on its way? Clues can be found all around us—especially outside! Adventure to the Washington Park Arboretum to embark on this seasonal investigation with us.

Bring the whole family for an hour and half themed walk. During this free public tour, we will stop along the way for games, hands-on activities and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers. Tour groups gather in front of the Graham Visitors Center at 1:00pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays February-June.

Family Nature Class

Join us for a Family Nature Class and make connections with the natural world that will last a lifetime! Through science-based exploration and outdoor play, preschoolers and their caregivers will experience the UW Botanic Gardens using their senses.

Each class begins with an opportunity to explore several learning stations based on the week’s theme where children can practice fine motor skills, sensory investigation, creativity, and pre-math and literacy skills. Station time is followed by an opening circle and hike where the group will play games, listen to a story and further explore the weekly theme. Family Nature Class is a great way to get outside with your preschooler, foster curiosity and explore the natural world.

Free Family Weekend Walk: Winter Safari

Did you know that there is something amazing to see and explore in the Washington Park Arboretum all year round? Get outside and play some winter nature games and activities with us while we take advantage of all the wonder winter has to offer!

Bring the whole family for an hour and half themed walk. During this free public tour, we will stop along the way for games, hands-on activities and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers. Tour groups gather in front of the Graham Visitors Center at 1:00pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays February-June.

Free, no preregistration necessary.

Pikes/Pines | Capitol Hill woodpeckers fit right in — drumming, developing microhousing

A Pileated Woodpecker. (Image: Brendan McGarry)

When I was eight years old, my family and I took a trip to the Olympic Peninsula. We spent a week camping along that rugged coastline, falling asleep to the crash of waves beneath gale twisted trees. Of that trip, I remember very little. Only one thing stands out clearly. It was here I met the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). At the base of a gnarled Western hemlock, I found a passion for birds that still burns deep.


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I used to have a hard time explaining why I liked woodpeckers so much. They’re no powerful birds of prey, nor are they elegant hummingbirds. Yet, woodpeckers play an integral role in forest ecosystems, even in the smaller patches we have on the Hill. They are built for a vertical world where their homes and food come from trees. Continue reading