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Jewelweed. Spotted touch-me-not. Orange Balsam It’s a plant known by many names, and, even if you don’t recognize any of them, you’ve probably popped one of its exploding seed pods. A favorite of hummingbirds and nature-lovers young and old, it’s a species with many stories to share. Listen in as the guys dive deep into the jewelweed patch, eating …
 
This month, Bill and Steve look into the fall and (potential) rise of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), and they’re joined by Erik Danielson, Stewardship Coordinator of the Western NY Land Conservancy. The Conservancy recently embarked on an effort to acquire the Allegany Wildlands, a unique piece of property that harbors, among its many ab…
 
This month, Bill and Steve look into the fall and (potential) rise of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), and they’re joined by Erik Danielson, Stewardship Coordinator of the Western NY Land Conservancy. The Conservancy recently embarked on an effort to acquire the Allegany Wildlands, a unique piece of property that harbors, among its many ab…
 
This month, the guys set out to discover if daddy longlegs really are the most poisonous spider in the world, but, along the way, they uncover a fascinating array of arachnids and adaptations in the group known collectively as harvestmen. Join them for some mythbusting and a deep dive into the little-known order of arachnids called Opiliones. Episo…
 
The northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) is a common bird that has some exceptionally uncommon behaviors. Unlike most bird species, male flickers take an equal share of egg incubation and feeding, and, in up to five percent of females, a lady flicker will take up with two mates - an older male and a younger male - raising young in two different nest…
 
Episode Notes Spring is here! So, what better time to talk about winter-active insects? Steve recorded this one in February with entomologist and all-around-great-guy Dr. Wayne Gall, and there was no way we could wait until next winter to share it! Join Steve and Wayne as they head into the winter woods, peeling back the snowy curtain that conceals…
 
This winter (2021) marked the first time a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) was spotted in New York City’s Central Park in 130 years. Why was it there? Where did it come from? Since 99.9% of the population immediately just thinks of Harry Potter when Snowy Owls are mentioned, the guys wanted to cast the proverbial “Lumos!” and shed some light on the sub…
 
This winter (2021) marked the first time a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) was spotted in New York City’s Central Park in 130 years. Why was it there? Where did it come from? Since 99.9% of the population immediately just thinks of Harry Potter when Snowy Owls are mentioned, the guys wanted to cast the proverbial “Lumos!” and shed some light on the sub…
 
Now that Bill’s done droning on about animals, we can finally talk about PLANTS! and CARNIVOROUS plants at that. Steve reviews carnivorous plants in general and then breaks into examples of carnivorous plants that have evolved to eat poop: Roridula spp. in South Africa, Sarracenia purpurea in North America, & Nepenthes spp. in Southeast Asia. 00:00…
 
With the high-end guests we’ve recently had on, we’re concerned that the podcast is getting a bit too classy. So, this month, we’re getting down and dirty, delving into the delightful topic of defecation. Specifically, animals that eat poop. We know, it seems gross. We thought so, too. But once we started exploring this surprisingly common behavior…
 
Welcome to part 2 of our field trip to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. In this segment, Bill and Steve take a hike with Twan Leenders, Senior Director of Science & Conservation at the Institute. Twan has had a career in conservation that deserves to be made into a movie. From researching wildlife in the treetops of Central American rainforests t…
 
Visit the Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s website to find out more about the site, events/exhibitions, and the good work they are doing. Steve and Arthur discussed the hellbender head-start program, and the question came up about whether it was connected with the Buffalo Zoo. Here’s what we found: “The “hellbender head-start program” is a collabora…
 
Links: Sandy Beach Island State Park (Pulaski, New York) Piping Plover running (video) Piping Plover chick running (video) Piping Plover chick hiding under their mom (video) Rockaway Beach (Queens, New York) An article about Claire and her team (Article) New York State Parks Blog about the Piping Plovers (Article) Report Banded Piping Plovers (or e…
 
During the editing process for this episode, Bill shared some posts about this species via social media. Several listeners commented that, in an effort to acknowledge problematic botanical names, many sources now refer to this plant as Ghost Pipe. So, although it was too late to re-record the episode, Bill altered these notes to reflect the name ch…
 
This episode is all about those gross jelly blobs that you might see in marinas (AKA Bryozoans!). Bill and Steve are joined by Jajean Rose-Burney, Deputy Executive Director of the Western New York Land Conservancy. Jajean guides Bill and Steve around The College Lodge Forest in Chautauqua County, NY, a wildlife-rich property that the Land Conservan…
 
Have you ever dreamed of ditching your day job and pursuing a career in the woods? Maybe working with wolves in the desert southwest or conducting plant surveys in the wilds of Alaska? Well, Matt Gaffney did it! Leaving behind a job in digital marketing, he went back to school to get his degree in environmental studies and went on to work a series …
 
During this episode, Bill breaks down the topic of reproductive delays, with a special focus on the American black bear (Ursus americanus). Come join the guys as they “peek inside the den”, and uncover this seldom-discussed aspect of the sex lives of some of our fascinating (and randy) mammals.By The Field Guides
 
…And we’re back! After a lengthy hiatus, Bill and Steve return with an episode focused on the fall. Specifically, they look into why fall is the neglected season when it comes to climate change research. Is it a conspiracy? Is it a plot by the ‘deep state’ to play favorites with the seasons? Probably not, but the guys have some fun uncovering the p…
 
Welcome to part 2 of our episode on bird banding! In this part, we look at what the research has to say about how birds fare during and after the banding process. All research that involves capturing and handling wildlife poses some level of risk for the target species. So, what about bird banding? Are injures rare? Do injured birds fare worse than…
 
A bird alights on a nearby branch, and, for a brief moment, a flash of silver on the bird’s leg catches your eye. If you’re fortunate enough to get a closer look, you might notice that the reflection comes from a tiny, silver bracelet wrapped around the bird’s leg – a bird band. Bird banding (or bird ringing, for our European listeners) has been us…
 
Carnivorous plants are the renegades of the plant world. About 800 known species have gone from primary producers to immobile predators. In this episode, Steve goes on and on and on about everything you want to know about carnivorous plants (and a few things you don’t want to know). You’ll learn what it means to be a carnivorous plant, what it mean…
 
Have you ever heard of myrmecochory? It may not pop up much in casual conversation, but this strange word is your doorway to a tiny, fascinating world of ant-plant interactions. Myrmecochory is seed dispersal by ants (don’t worry, we cover how to pronounce it in the episode), and while it may seem simple on the surface, it’s a beautifully complex s…
 
In spring, a naturalist’s fancy turns to thoughts of Timberdoodlin’, and that means heading out into the spring twilight, finding a brushy meadow, and listening for the buzzy “Peent!” of the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) . AKA the Timberdoodle, this odd bird (it’s a shorebird that doesn’t live near the shore) performs a strange and stunning sk…
 
It’s Snow-and-Tell time! We’re deep into winter right now, and spring seems snow far away. So, we decided to embrace the season and look into recent research around a topic that would be sure to provide plenty of puns for this write-up: SNOW! We delve into recent studies about how much snow actually falls on North America, if the indigenous peoples…
 
Did you ever wonder why Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers look so much alike? No? Neither did we, but it was because we always assumed they were just closely related species. Maybe you did, too, but thanks to the wonders of DNA analysis, we now know that these two look-alikes are not even in the same genus. So, what gives? Researchers recently looked int…
 
“Richer than millionaires! Happier than Kings! Envied by multitudes! May be said of hobnobbers with Hart’s-tongues.” So said one enthusiast of the Hart’s-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum) long ago, and we think you’ll agree. This species is exceptional in many ways; its appearance (it doesn’t look like your typical fern), its un…
 
Have you ever heard of a burrowing crayfish? We hadn’t, until our much-smarter-than-us friend, Dr. Wayne Gall, shared the story of how he discovered one particular species living in western NY 30 years ago - Cambarus diogenes - the Devil Crayfish. Wayne invited us to join him on a hunt for this species, to see if it was still present at Tifft Natur…
 
Imagine a gathering of nature-lovers where, for three days, you could attend hikes, talks, and other programs on dozens of natural history topics. Such a gathering takes place each year in Allegany State Park in southwestern NY. For over sixty years, The Allegany Nature Pilgrimage has taken place the weekend after Memorial Day, bringing like-minded…
 
Nearly every year, somewhere in the eastern US, a brood of periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) emerges for the first time in 13 or 17 years. Each brood contains millions of individuals and it's probably one of the most spectacular displays that you would be lucky enough to experience. Before the episode, Steve and Bill traveled to Syracuse to see …
 
During this bonus episode, Bill interviews Gordon Maupin, former director of the Wilderness Center in northeastern Ohio and, along with Joann Ballbach and Gary Popotnik, the former host of "Wild Ideas...The Podcast". "Wild Ideas" was (and is) an excellent resource for information on natural history and it was a strong influence on our decision to s…
 
Have you seen the light? This month, the guys take their first foray into the world of fungi, specifically bioluminescent fungi! Although fireflies and other glowing critters have been well researched, fungi that glow are not nearly as well understood. Often referred to as "foxfire" or "fairy fire", their glow was first documented way back in ancie…
 
This is the story of two guys who enter the woods looking for Arisaema triphyllum, the graceful woodland wildflower known to many as Jack-in-the-pulpit. Not only is it beautiful to behold, but this member of the Arum family has a fascinating natural history; it can switch its sex, fool midge flies, and cause botanists to have heated debates about s…
 
It's not a skunk... and it's not a cabbage... This month, Steve and Bill discuss Skunk Cabbage. The guys go over the spathe, spadix, contractile roots, and thermogenesis, among other things. We also pose maybe too many questions to our audience: 1. Is Skunk Cabbage a clonal species? 2. Can Skunk Cabbage have multiple inflorescences? 3. Do warblers …
 
Can one specimen of a native plant be more "native" than another? Plant populations that have adapted to local environmental conditions are called "local ecotypes". They can be genetically different from populations of the same plant growing under different conditions, and for those ecologists who are working to restore damaged ecosystems, whether …
 
Steve and Bill start off 2018 with an episode about Eastern Screech-owls. The guys talk about the Eastern Screech-owl's dichromatism, adaptations for hunting at night, and even call one in during the podcast. Make sure to wear headphones for this one- the birds calling in the distance aren't always easy to hear. Steve also gets really nervous about…
 
We hope you're ready to learn all about Cooper's Hawks in cities. Steve leads the discussion on cooper's hawk biology, hunting strategies, and nest predation habits. Also, keep your cats indoors. We teamed up with The Urban Wildlife Podcast for this episode's topic, so make sure that you go check them out. We also announce an artsy relationship wit…
 
This episode is all about the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA)! Steve and Bill explain this insect's history, biology, and it's negative effects on Eastern and Carolina Hemlock. The guys dive into what damage has already been done, what damage is still projected to happen, and what we're currently doing to stop the spread of this destructive asian hemi…
 
Eastern Hemlocks are a staple of northeastern US forests. During this bonus episode, Steve and Bill make some tea and dive into what makes this tree so special. Historically, Hemlock has experienced 3 major declines, with the most recent happening right now. The culprit is an introduced hemipteran from Asia. Later this month, the guys will release …
 
This episode is nuts! Like peanut butter and jelly, Blue Jays and oak trees go together - they have a fascinating relationship that plays out in our forests every fall. Jays (and many of their corvid relatives) collect boatloads of acorns and engage in a caching behavior called scatter hoarding. The extent to which oaks have evolved to rely on this…
 
What's better than a regular episode about ticks? That's right, a bonus episode featuring someone who actually spent their career as an entomologist specifically studying ticks. Enter entomologist, Dr. Wayne Gall. The first half of this episode follows Steve and Wayne sampling for ticks at Stiglmeier Park in Cheektowaga, NY. The second half takes p…
 
Grasslands birds and the habitats they depend on are some of the most threatened components of our North American landscape. But take heart! Because people like this month's guest co-host, Kyle Webster, are working to restore and maintain grasslands for the birds (and other organisms) that require them. As a member of New York State Parks's environ…
 
So, how do you feel about deer? Over the past 100 years, populations of the White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have gone from scarce to ubiquitous. There’s a significant body of research pointing to the detrimental impacts of deer overbrowsing on our forests. Here at The Field Guides, we don’t like to exclude anyone, but we are interested i…
 
This episode is all about ticks! Bill and Steve describe the difference between Ixodidae (hard ticks), Argasidae (soft ticks), and Nuttalliellidae (a single extant African species with ancestral tick traits). They also discuss the right way to remove a tick, Lyme disease, and how ticks may be partly responsible for humans being “naked apes.” We hop…
 
During this episode, Steve talks about EVERY SINGLE extant non-human animal that drinks xylem or phloem sap. Join the guys as they explore the paradox of phloem sap, the barriers to eating it, how squirrels tap maple trees, hemipterans (true bugs), yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and much, much more. This episode stands alone, but we highly recommend li…
 
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