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 in learning about deer exclosures – structures designed to keep these plentiful herbivores out of an area. Usually they are placed to allow for forest regeneration or to study the effects of deer exclusion; often, it’s done for both reasons. So what does the research show? Does excluding deer lead to healthier forests? This episode will shed some light on the answer. Listen to this rare, Steve-less episode as Bill is joined by Kristen Rosenburg, an environmental educator with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. They discuss deer exclosures, check some out at Kristen’s work site, and talk about what happens when researchers “Build That Wall!”. Special thanks to Kristen for sharing her time and expertise with us, as well as to the NYS DEC for allowing us to steal Kristen away for a morning.
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 hope you enjoy!
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 listening to episode 17, "The Sappiest Podcast Ever..." either before or after this one. Either way, we hope you enjoy the episode!
During this episode, Bill and Steve talk about nature's junk food - sap! Join the guys as they cover how sap moves through Maple trees, as well as how climate change will affect Maples and the sap collecting season. They also interview two volunteers at the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center about turning Maple sap into syrup, cream, and sugar. Enjoy the episode!
Our 2nd bonus episode has arrived! This episode, Steve is joined by Matt from ‘In Defense of Plants’ & Sara from ‘Midwest Explorer’ for a hike at Hunter’s Creek Park. They talk about tree bark, bird poop, and American Sycamore Trees. Steve also ventures into Buffalo, NY to see the oldest American Sycamore in the world… allegedly (but probably not). Enjoy!
Winter is often perceived as a time of dormancy and inactivity, but underneath the snow, in the subnivean zone, a complex and fascinating world of plant and animal interactions exists. Weasels hunt through snow-roofed tunnels, herbivores graze on grasses, bark, and seeds, and occasionally the taloned feet of an owl punch through the roof, searching for a meal. In this episode, Steve and Bill pull back the snowy curtain, sharing recent research into what’s happening in the subnivean zone and the impacts of climate change on this intriguing and unseen winter world. This episode was recorded in the Shale Creek section of Chestnut Ridge Park, located in Orchard Park, NY.
This week Steve leads the discussion on "ice spikes." This is a rare winter phenomenon that Bill and Steve stumbled across at Stiglmeier Park (Cheektowaga, NY) during January, 2016. Join the guys as they run through two (presumably) incorrect hypotheses on how ice spikes form, and one well-documented method for their formation within freezers. We also explore the conditions that increase the chance of ice spikes forming in natural areas. While the episode mainly focuses on the "spike" form, "vase," "candle," and "tower" forms are also possible.
What the flock is up with murmurations? And what's the difference between a swarm, a herd, a school, and a flock? In this first of a two-part episode, Bill and Steve explore the world of collective behavior, and take a specific look at murmurations of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). This species gathers in large flocks (sometimes numbering into the tens of thousands!) that dive and swoop across the sky, creating beautiful, shifting forms that delight, amaze, and mystify. Researchers from numerous fields study these formations, and this month, the Field Guides share the latest research into this stunning natural phenomenon.