Few things are as nostalgic for many Americans as the idea of sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and looking for constellations or listening to scary stories. It’s these memories that the National Wildlife Federation hopes to rekindle with the Great American Backyard Camp-Out on Saturday, June 28.
Move over robins; red-winged blackbirds are the real harbingers of spring.
The male’s scratchy “oak-a-lee” songs are heard when the world is still blanketed with snow and maple sap is just beginning to flow. Males return north well before females, and the early bird does get the worm. In this case the metaphorical worm is prime breeding territory.
Daylight floods a rural NH valley. A rooster crows in the village. The morning songbird chorus features mourning doves, red-wing blackbirds, a cardinal. The symphony will soon swell with grouse drumming, wood thrush flutes and a crescendo of warbler songs.
Strong sunlight of lengthening days is the catalyst that controls circadian rhythms influencing production of hormones - in birds, wild mammals and people.
It’s a tiny owl, the northern saw-whet, and it’s a lot more common than bird surveys suggest. As you might imagine, small birds active only at night are not easy to survey. Also important to note is that because they're the favorite meal of the much larger barred owl, their survival depends on keeping a low profile—usually under cover of dense conifers.
Today on Word of Mouth, lions and tigers and bears - in cages. We're delving into the exotic pets debate. Then, on to a truly wild animal, but one whose population is dwindling. In the second half of the show, we hear from a man who spent seven years - yes, seven - transcribing the entire King James Bible by hand. Finally, Virginia sits down with Humaira Awais Shahid, journalist and human rights activist fighting for women's rights in Pakistan.
Listen to the whole show and click Read more for individual segments.
From kangaroos bred in captivity to trained tigers, exotic pets come from all walks of wildlife…and ownership of wild animals is increasingly becoming a hot debate. Exotic pet owners defend their right to care for critters from venomous snakes to angry chimps. Animal rights advocates meanwhile, are doing what they can to stop the purchase of exotic pets and place current ones into safe, accredited sanctuaries. Both camps appear to share a love of wild animals. Lauren Slater joined us to talk about the exotic animal ownership debate. She wrote "Wild Pets: The Debate Over Owning Exotic Animals" for National Geographic. Listen to Virginia's interview with Lauren Slater here.
While it may be March, it’s still very much wintertime. If you’ve been cursing the snow and ice and desperately longing for spring, you’re not alone. But let’s look at the bright side - all that frozen water offers certain opportunities that just aren’t available in the spring. And I’m not talking about expensive and time consuming snow-sports, I’m talking about wildlife tracking. To give you an introduction to tracking, We headed for the woods of Barrington, New Hampshire with Dan Gardoqui, one of the founders and directors of White Pine Programs, a nature connection non-profit in Southern Maine.
Got snow? That's probably a sore subject for many in New England this time of year, but in the woods, snow is not an enemy--a scourge to be shoveled, scraped and plowed out of the way. In nature, snow is a trusted ally to plants and wildlife. Snow acts as a blanket, a source of camouflage, a form of concealment, and even a sponge.
Most of the snowy owl sightings have been along the coast where a flat, open landscape resembles their native tundra. Reports from New Hampshire birders include sightings of up to nine in a single day. On Nantucket, the annual Christmas Bird Count found 33, far surpassing the previous count record of four.
In the frozen fastness of a winter forest, devoid of green plants and insects, winter tree bark provides important winter insect habitat and a food pantry for forest birds and small mammals hunting for tiny insects or seeds.
Ospreys, also called sea hawk or fish eagle, are found all over the world including here in New Hampshire, But wherever they live, when the temperature drops the birds head for the tropics. For juveniles that first migration is a crucible that only 25 to 40 percent survive.
A project in New Hampshire is tracking Granite State birds and learning about the many misadventures they have between their departure in the fall and return in the spring.
The United States Department of Agriculture is distributing vanilla flavored rabies vaccine packets from airplanes over New Hampshire. The packets will show up in Coos and Grafton counties as part of 5-state pilot study of a new rabies vaccine.
The vaccines are thrown from 500 feet from a small aircraft over rural areas and distributed by hand in towns. They’re vanilla flavored, which trials have shown to be a favorite flavor for critters.