Something Wild | New Hampshire Public Radio

Something Wild

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.  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.

Samuel Taylor

By the time the cold weather months hit us,  three of New Hampshire’s eight species of bats have already migrated to warmer places in the South and Mid-Atlantic regions. 

The bat that DO overwinter in New Hampshire have relocated out of their preferred summer roosts in trees (and Dave's chimney), and into winter hibernacula like caves, mine shafts, and abandoned military  bunkers where the microclimate is just right.

David Anderson

Standing dead trees (often called snags) are common in our forests, and it’s hard to overstate just how vital a role they play in a healthy ecosystem. These gray ghosts provide food and shelter for a whole heap of forest critters; a total of 43 species of birds and mammals are specially adapted to nesting or denning inside tree cavities.

Dave Anderson

It's late August, and the leaves are already starting to change. And that flush of red you’re seeing likely comes from the red maple, also known as “swamp” or “soft maple”.

It's an adaptable tree renowned for signaling an impending autumn, and has even earned the dubious nickname: “Judas Tree” – for betraying these late summer days.  

This Something Wild segment was produced by the amazing Andrew Parrella.

You may be familiar with hoarders (not the TV show, but same idea).  In nature, a hoarder will hide food in one place.  Everything it gathers will be stored in a single tree or den.  But for some animals one food cache isn't enough.  We call them scatter hoarders.  

Dave Anderson

The past couple of weeks have been weird.

Daily life changed gradually, then all at once.  We now find ourselves at home practicing our best “social distancing” protocols.  Incredible technology allows us to stay connected, and that’s fantastic.

But it’s ok to put the phone down. It’s ok to turn down the news from time to time, and take a long walk outside in nature.  This week, I took my own advice.

Amidst the simple beauty of nature,  I draw one deep breath… and then another.

Dave Anderson

Expert wildlife tracker Susan Morse is A LOT of things:

A life-long naturalist…a Shakespearian scholar…an award winning photographer.

What she is not…is easy to get a hold of.  So with some persistence and a little luck, Something Wild's Dave Anderson and Chris Martin tracked Sue down a few weeks back, before her busy season kicked into high gear.

Which is right about now (late winter) as Sue leads dozens of programs across  New England and beyond—teaching everyday people about wildlife tracking and habitat monitoring techniques.

Steve Mirick

Sometimes called a Marsh Hawk, the Northern harrier is currently one the rarest birds of prey nesting in the Granite State.

 

Unlike many of our more common hawks, harriers shun the forest, opting instead to hunt in wide-open spaces like fields, brushy areas -- even in marshes.  And get this ... they build their nests on the ground.   Peculiar preferences indeed, and ones that have made it a challenge for them to survive here. 

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Garret Evans

Dave "Superman" Anderson:  

Sitting in a tree stand in the icy pre-dawn darkness has become a cherished winter time ritual for me.

I wasn’t raised in a hunting family, yet I live on a tree farm with fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and a backyard maple sugarhouse. Seeing and tracking deer is common. They’re beautiful, graceful, sometimes pesky… and very tasty.

CREDIT FILE PHOTO

  When we think about the kinds of people making important contributions to science, we might imagine someone in a white lab coat, squinting into a microscope, or pouring over reams of computer data.

 

Truth is, good science can also be accomplished by everyday people-- citizen scientists-- volunteering in both large and small collaborations.  

Emily Quirk

Standing dead trees (often called snags) are common in our forests, and it’s hard to overstate just how vital a role they play in a healthy ecosystem. These gray ghosts provide food and shelter for a whole heap of forest critters; a total of 43 species of birds and mammals are specially adapted to nesting or denning inside tree cavities.

The Power and Potential of Fungi

Nov 26, 2018
Ray Sleeper / Sleeper Photography

We learn about the miracle of fungi, from mushrooms, to yeast, to mold on your shower curtain. Fungi are in a vast yet little-known kingdom of their own, closer to animals than plants, and one of the oldest and largest organisms on earth.  In addition to tasty mushrooms foraged in fall, we learn about the important role fungi plays in the ecosystem, their relationship to trees, and promising areas of research for the future. 

As summer unfolds in New Hampshire, NHPR is offering several programming options that bring the outdoors to the airwaves.

Season Four of Outside/In, the program about the natural world and how we use it, will air on NHPR from Monday, June 18 through Friday, June 22 during the 3 p.m. broadcast slot usually reserved for the BBC Newshour. Outside/In, hosted by Sam Evans-Brown, combines solid reporting with long-form narrative storytelling to bring the outdoors to everyone, anywhere.

Axel Kristinsson via Flickr/Creative Commons

New Hampshire is experiencing one of those few rare and special weeks right now. About 48 weeks of the year, the New Hampshire landscape is pretty homogenous; from a distance our deciduous trees can all look the same: either a blanket of green leaves, or nothing but sticks. But during a few brief weeks in the fall and in the spring – trees show their true colors.

To celebrate 20 years of Something Wild on NHPR, we take a look at how New Hampshire has changed in terms of nature and ecology over the two decades the program has been on the air.  

Longtime NHPR Series Celebrates 20 Years’ of Exploring New Hampshire’s Wild Places

Visits to mountains and seashore, educated banter with biologists, and interesting encounters with wildlife are some of the many memories associated with New Hampshire Public Radio’s long-running radio series Something Wild.

Shell Game / Flickr/Creative Commons

One of the rituals I shared with my children when they were growing up was stalking woodcocks during their spring courtship display. I guess I was sort of emulating a hero of mine named Aldo Leopold.

Chris Schrier via flickr Creative Commons

Forget about spooky black cats, witches, ghosts and goblins; think about what happens to your pumpkin.

Halloween is indeed well-timed to the season of conspicuous death and decay. Forget about spooky black cats, witches, ghosts and goblins! Instead think about what happens to Jack 'O Lantern left to itself over the next several months…

The Company Of Cuckoos

Jul 26, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

Elusive, secretive birds often are the most satisfying to discover, and for me the black-billed cuckoo ranks near the top. Hearing a bird is usually the best way to find it, but attentive ears are needed to detect this cuckoo's song: a subtle, slow and hollow-sounding "cucucu – cucucucu." The song in no way resembles the bold double notes of a cuckoo clock that mimic the song of the common cuckoo, a species that nests across Europe and Asia.

Fireflies-- Beyond the Magic

Jul 12, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

The twinkling fireflies of a summer night bring a little magic. If we think beyond the twinkling, we probably realize it is courtship in progress: the signals of males and females.

There are a couple dozen firefly species in New England, each with a unique series of flashes, from males in flight to females perched below. Beyond the magic, very few people have knowledge of the medical benefits as well: the use of a firefly's light-producing chemicals in bioluminescent imaging.

Shell Game / Flickr/Creative Commons

  One of the rituals I shared with my children when they were growing up was stalking woodcocks during their spring courtship display. I guess I was sort of emulating a hero of mine named Aldo Leopold.

At twilight on April evenings, the woodcocks perform what naturalist Aldo Leopold described as "The Sky Dance" in an essay of the same title from his book A Sand Country Almanac, it's a sort of Bible for conservationists.

The Maligned Fisher

Feb 22, 2013
ForestWander.com

The "fisher cat": ferocious predator of house cats whose bloodcurdling screams pierce the dark of night. Facts about this one wildlife species have mutated a long way into fiction. For starters, fishers are members of the weasel family—not feline. Properly referred to, they're "fishers," not "fisher cats." 

As for all the house cats they're thought to kill, here's what a NH Fish and Game species account says:

Gifts for the Budding Naturalist

Dec 14, 2012

As the year draws to a close, it's a great time to reflect on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring once more. 2012 marks the books 50th anniversary. The book encouraged many young naturalists and, with the holidays approaching, we've come up with two gifts to further one's love of nature: a pair of binoculars and a bird guide.

Selbe B via Flickr Creative Commons

According to the National Christmas Tree Growers Association, buying a natural, farm-grown Christmas tree is a traditional custom for up to 30 million American families who celebrate the holidays with the fragrance and beauty of locally-raised, farm-grown Christmas trees. Today, the majority of Christmas trees are plantation-grown. There are an estimated 350 million Christmas trees growing nationwide.

Azure Crescendo

Oct 19, 2012
Photo by Francie Von Mertens.

Generations ago, when people lived closer to the natural world, more outdoors than in, mild October days were called "bluebird weather. "The eastern bluebirds' gentle, quizzical notes were familiar and their distinctive habits recognized. A bluebird family remains together this time of year when most other bird species disperse. They favor field or open habitat, and typically perch on branches at field edge when they feed. Family members take turns dropping down to the ground then return to perch, one after another, most likely in pursuit of grasshopper or cricket.