The Field Guides
The Field Guides
The Field Guides
Nature nerds rejoice! The Field Guides is a monthly podcast that will bring you out on the trail, focusing on the science of our North American wildlife.
Ep. 62 - Timber Rattlesnakes: Still Endangered, Still Danger Noodle-y (Part 2)
Part 2 of our Timber Rattlesnake episode. If you haven’t listened to part 1, go and do that. We’ll wait right here for you. The episode was recorded on December 7, 2023 at Hunters Creek County Park in East Aurora, NY.
Jan 23
Ep. 62 - Timber Rattlesnakes: Endangered Danger Noodles(Part 1)
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we wager you’ll enjoy this dive into the shiny (not slimy) world of rattlesnakes. This episode, the guys take a close look (but not too close) at the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), trying to show how it’s not out to kill you and also finding out how it ended up on the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Plus, they introduce the newest field guide, Daniel!
Dec 26, 2023
54 min
Ep. 61 - Bill and Steve’s Floating Fen Foray (featuring the WNY Land Conservancy)
This month, Bill and Steve visit Floating Fen, although some might call it a bog, or is it a swamp? Thankfully, they’re joined by Erik Danielson, Stewardship Coordinator of the Western NY Land Conservancy (WNYLC), who schools them on the difference between these wetlands. Erik and the WNYLC are trying to preserve Floating Fen, a property home to a unique wetland, extraordinary life, and a diverse forest. Erik guides Bill and Steve through the fen, discussing just what makes a bog a bog and a fen a fen, as well as what makes these peatlands such amazing habitats.
Jun 29, 2023
Ep. 60 - The True(?) Story of the Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a rare example of a species humans managed to pull back from the brink of extinction by getting off our collective asses and doing some stuff. Already decimated by hunting and habitat loss, the post WWII enthusiasm for spraying the chemical DDT on just about everything sent Bald Eagle populations into freefall. That is, until Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962 and sensibly said, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t go through pesticides like beer at a frat party. Maybe let’s use as little as needed?” We’re paraphrasing, of course, but, eventually, DDT was banned in the US, the Bald Eagle was placed on the Endangered Species list, and our national bird was on the road to recovery. This is the story told about Bald Eagles and DDT. But a few out there question this narrative, claiming that DDT wasn’t a big problem for eagles and that banning it caused billions of unnecessary deaths because it prevented DDT’s continued use in the fight against malaria. These claims are mostly nonsense, drudged up by folks who hate regulations, but looking into them makes for an interesting ride. Join the guys as they find out…DUN DUN DUN…what THEY don’t want you to know about Bald Eagles.
May 25, 2023
1 hr 17 min
Ep. 59 - Beavers! (No Damn Puns, Please)
They’re hard-working, tail-slapping, tree cutting machines, and they’re one of the greatest wildlife recovery stories in North America: Castor canadensis, the North American beaver. And, as if all that weren’t enough, apparently their rear ends produce an oil that’s vanilla-scented. Join the guys as they keep their puns and innuendos in check and dive into beavers!
Feb 7, 2023
1 hr 15 min
Ep. 58 - Insectapalooza! (Part 2)
Our six-legged celebration continues! In this second part, the guys wrap up their behind-the-scenes tour of the Cornell University Insect Collection with Jason Dombroskie, collection manager and director of the insect diagnostic lab, and THEN, Jason provides the guys with some eye protection and takes them out into the woods for some nighttime mothing!
Nov 30, 2022
1 hr 7 min
Ep. 58 - Insectapalooza! (Part 1)
This month, Bill and Steve geek out over insects! And it’s because they were lucky enough to have an even bigger insect geek invite them on a field trip. Jason Dombroskie is the collection manager and director of the insect diagnostic lab at Cornell University. His invite to take the guys mothing in July of 2022 turned into a marvelous, day-long adventure: In part one, you’ll hear the guys meet up with Jason for a tour of his property and an interview delving into Jason’s background and what it’s like to be a professional entomologist (it involves studying lots of insect genitalia, among other things). We follow that up with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Cornell University Insect Collection - an assemblage spanning over 7 million insect specimens representing about 200,000 species, or roughly 20% of the world’s described insect fauna. So, strap in and prepare yourself for…Insectapalooza!
Sep 30, 2022
56 min
Ep. 57 - Mockingbirds Gonna Mock
Have you ever heard a mockingbird imitate a blue jay? How about a seal imitating a Maine fisherman? This month, the guys explore what happens when animals make sounds they’re not supposed to: the wild world of vocal mimicry. Birds imitate chainsaws and car alarms, elephants speak Korean; what’s going on? With a special focus on one of the bird world’s best known mimics - the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) - the guys delve into the research trying to explain why animals - especially birds - feel the need to engage in the wildlife equivalent of, “I know you are, but what am I?”
Jul 31, 2022
1 hr 3 min
Ep. 56 - Let's Get Nuts!
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) is a tree well-known for its ability to negatively affect other plants growing nearby, a phenomenon known as allelopathy. But is Black Walnut really as allelopathic as the Internet would have you believe? In this episode, the guys go nuts: delving into this question and many other facets of the fascinating (and tasty?) Black Walnut, including an on-air tasting of Black Walnut syrup. Enjoy!
May 26, 2022
1 hr 19 min
Ep. 55 - Bill and Steve Go to Hell(benders)
What’s dark and slimy and over two feet long? It’s an Eastern Hellbender! This aquatic giant salamander, endemic to the eastern and central US, is the largest amphibian in North America, often weighing in at over 4 lbs.! The hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is, not unlike Steve, secretive and slimy but also fascinating. Join the guys for one hell of an episode learning about this rare and disappearing denizen of fast-moving streams.
Jan 31, 2022
1 hr 8 min
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