Environment

Evans-Brown/NHPR.

Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown, joined us in the field this week at Something Wild. We were in Sutton, NH tracking some turkey vulture chicks, because Dave discovered some vultures living among the rocks in a nearby cliff-face.

Courtesy SNHU

A New Hampshire undergraduate has confirmed the presence of a fungus in the state that, over the past thirty years, has caused either extinction or massive decline in more than 200 species of frogs around the world.

That was enough to get Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown interested.

Something Wild: Porcupines Aren't As Prickly As You Thought

Jun 9, 2017
Smithsonian's National Zoo via Flickr

We’ve been hearing a lot about porcupines this year. They seem to be everywhere! It’s positively a plague of porcupines!

So why are there so many? Biologists don’t have an official answer, but Dave Anderson has a hypothesis involving coyotes and fisher cats. The porcupine’s only real predator is the fisher. It takes a tough critter to eat a porcupine. Anecdotally, trackers and hunters are reporting that fisher numbers appear to be down this year, so it makes sense that porcupine numbers are up.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

New Hampshire imports all of its fossil fuels, meaning a lot of money leaves the state to keep our lights on. Local clean energy companies want to change that, by transitioning to renewable sources like solar and biomass. 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster expressed support Monday for New Hampshire’s green energy economy  and opposition to Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. Speaking in Peterborough alongside clean energy advocates, Kuster said the state should stay committed to the goals of the Paris agreement and invest in New Hampshire energy.

Courtesy Heidi Asbjornsen

The specter of drought is often raised in these early days of summer. And for good reason, though water levels have returned to normal around the New Hampshire, state officials are still warning residents to remain cautious after last summer drought. And while we often fret about the health of our lawns and our gardens, Dave (from the Forest Society) wanted to address drought resistance among his favorite species, trees.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Picture unspoiled wild forest, the type of place only animals and Boy Scouts feel at home. Now erase that image from your mind, and picture a power line right of way: one of those ruler-straight strips of utility poles that brutishly slash through the woods. Would anything choose that for a home?

http://gph.is/YBbvez

On today's show:

Courtesy stillwellmike via Flickr/Creative Commons.

The battlefield is ancient. Strewn with the debris of generations. Trees splintered, rocks shattered. Neither side will yield this talus slope in the pursuit of that which is most coveted. This is Game of Stones.  

Actually, this is just another installment of New Hampshire’s Wild Neighborhoods, and this time we’re scaling the battle ground known as Talus. And there was some disagreement at Something Wild about whether we should call it “talus” or “talus woodland”.

Courtesy Brendan Clifford, via NH Fish & Game

Before we get into this week's topic, check out Chris and Dave's recent appearance on NHPR's Outside/In. They joined host Sam Evans-Brown for a special edition of "Ask Sam".

There are few sounds in nature that command your attention as effectively as the rattle of a rattlesnake. And though these snakes are not aggressive, that sound does elicit a hard-wired, innate fear response. Roughly translating to “Watch Your Step, Mister!” the rattle is an alarm designed to stop trouble before it starts.

Courtesy WikiMedia

Image yourself on a walk in the woods. It’s early spring; tiny tree flowers are clinging to branches. A nearby stream quietly gurgles and peepers pepper the air. Idyllic, right? Then, all of a sudden….a brobdingnagian buzz from a lilliputian louse! Paradise lost! (Sorry, mixing Miltonian metaphors.)

Well…maybe not. 

We tagged along with Diane DeLuca, a biologist with NH Audubon on her rounds of the Deering Wildlife Sanctuary. DeLuca has been working on their Phenological Monitoring Pilot Project, and defines phenology as "the study of 'phenophases', which are the different phases that plants and animals go through in their life cycle each year." 

    

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Those early hints of spring can call to a gardener like a siren song. Yet the urge to get one’s seeds into dirt can be dangerous: most seedlings won’t survive a single frost. To help with that, gardeners use 30-year averages that predict when the last frost will probably occur. The thing is, in New England, climate change has temperatures rising relatively quickly.

NASA GOES

March 20th marks the Vernal Equinox.  It's one of two points on our calendar when day and night are of equal length. More or less. It may be more of a convenient handle we put on an arbitrary point on our annual revolution around the sun, but it is significant in that it marks the point in the year where we start seeing more daylight than darkness.  So with the days growing longer, this is a great time to talk about photoperiod.

Ross Boyd

Something Wild recently visited Maria Colby, director of Wings of the Dawn Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Henniker.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services / Flickr/CC

There’s no way around it. This week, Something Wild is a little thick. Like hundreds of pages thick but stay with us.

  

  

Chris Shadler

Chris Schadler is a wild canid biologist, and for about 25 years, her specialty has been the coyote. The first confirmed case of coyotes in New Hampshire was an individual found in a trap in Holderness in the mid 1940s. But they have likely been here longer, because as Schadler points out, they didn’t parachute into Holderness, they will have migrated south from Canada.

Courtesy of New Hampshire Audubon

Fisher populations are down, there’s consensus among wildlife biologists at least about that. But why that is happening is open to debate, as is what to do about it. 

Something Wild sat down with a couple of wildlife biologists recently who disagree; Meade Cadot, former Executive Director of the Harris Center for Conservation Education, and Patrick Tate, leader of the state’s fur-bearer project for NH Fish and Game.

Outward_bound via Flickr

Bobcats have been all over the news lately. It's kind of amazing to think that 30 years ago wildlife biologists estimated there were only 150 bobcats in New Hampshire. That's not the case anymore - their numbers are now estimated to be around 1400! How did these cats make such an impressive recovery?

NHPR

New Hampshire is a state known for its trees. In fact, the Granite State is the second most forested state in the country. Some trees are green, some are white; some are small, and others are . . . mighty. An organization of tree enthusiasts has been finding and documenting New Hampshire’s biggest trees since the 1950’s. 

Martina Oefelein via Flickr CC

So the thing about “nature shows” - even this one - is that we tend to talk about plant and animal species in pretty independent terms. "The red-tailed hawk eats this, sounds like that, does this in the winter…" But as we’ve tried to explain over the years (here at Something Wild) the hawk is just one resident in complex ecological puzzle; she interacts with other animals and plants in the neighborhood.

profilestrategygroup.com

Michael Sununu, brother to Gov. Chris Sununu, is criticizing the science behind a recent bipartisan state report on the impact of climate change on the Seacoast.

In a 25 page critique, Michael Sununu calls the Coastal Risks and Hazard Report “alarmist hand wringing” that would lead to wasteful spending of public money.

Courtsy Seabrooke Leckie via Flickr/Creative Commons.

New Hampshire’s Pack Monadnock is one of the best places in the state for hawk watch.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s governor doesn’t have a whole lot of executive power, at least compared to peers in other states. But one of the few ways a governor can exert his or her influence is through nominations to fill open seats across state agencies.

Pexels

 We discuss the top stories in science, technology, the environment and energy in New Hampshire:  a new biotech manufacturing institute in Manchester; Dyn hacked by the "internet of things"; and how GMOs may help slow the spread of Lyme disease.  We also look at top energy and environment stories, plus advances in indoor farming. 


The Wolf in Our Backyards

Dec 27, 2016
pexels

The coyote is the stuff of legends, but author Dan Flores says those tales don't come close to capturing its incredible survival story.  We talk with Flores, the author of the new book "Coyote America" and trace the history of the coyote.  Flores calls it "a kind of Manifest Destiny in reverse" where, in the war between coyote and human, the coyote wins - hands down. 

This show originally aired on September 6, 2016. 

Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tis the season for Christmas carols but at Something Wild one in particular captures our attention: The Twelve Days of Christmas.  There are a lot of birds featured in the song but, like so many of our carols, the lyrics are from old Europe and don’t really speak to life in 21st century New England.  So we thought maybe it’s time for an update… a rewrite… a New Hampshire Christmas carol.

 

We’ll skip over days twelve through eight – those all have to do with crafts people and artisans – and jump right to the important stuff – the BIRDS!

So the thing about “nature shows” - even this one - is that we tend to talk about plant and animal species in pretty independent terms. "The red-tailed hawk eats this, sounds like that, does this in the winter…" But as we’ve tried to explain over the years (here at Something Wild) the hawk is just one resident in complex ecological puzzle; she interacts with other animals and plants in the neighborhood. 

NHPR

As we hunker down for the winter weather, we’re frequently too preoccupied with what is in our front yards that we tend not to notice what isn’t there. The snow and ice have muscled out the grass, and the chilly sounds of the north wind have blown away the dawn chorus that woke us this summer. And short of finding a postcard in your mailbox from a warm exotic location, signed by your friendly neighborhood phoebe, you probably haven’t thought much about the birds that flitted through your yard just months ago.

Here at Something Wild, we’ve been thinking a lot about winter and the different strategies animals use to get through these cold, harsh months. There are quite a few techniques to survive winter if you don’t live in a toasty house with central heating or a roaring wood stove.

The top 5 are:

Smithsonian's National Zoo via Flickr

We’ve been hearing a lot about porcupines this year. They seem to be everywhere! It’s positively a plague of porcupines!

So why are there so many? Biologists don’t have an official answer, but Dave Anderson has a hypothesis involving coyotes and fisher cats. The porcupine’s only real predator is the fisher. It takes a tough critter to eat a porcupine. Anecdotally, trackers and hunters are reporting that fisher numbers appear to be down this year, so it makes sense that porcupine numbers are up.

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