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September 28, 2019
Autumn in New Hampshire is a wonderful time to watch and observe some easily recognizable stages of natural cycles: hawks migrating, leaves changing color…bears fattening up as they get ready to hibernate. But while we tend to think of cycles as a circular, repeatable pattern, unfolding year after year-- we should note that there are varying degrees of “cyclical” activity that can be quite complicated. The main reason for this? Nature is filled entropy, or randomness. Political historian Henry
August 30, 2019
A common theme on Something Wild is breeding. (Which is why we always sip our tea with our pinkies extended.) Seriously, though, we talk about the how, when and where because there are a lot of different reproductive strategies that have evolved in nature. Today we take a closer look at two such strategies through the lens of "how often": semelparity and iteroparity.
August 16, 2019
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. A "scatter hoarder" hides food in a bunch of different places within its territory. The gray squirrel is a classic example, gathering acorns and burying them in trees or in the ground. Not all squirrels are hoarders. Red squirrels are
August 2, 2019
We know…we’ve been remiss, and it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. Something Wild, as you know, is a chance to take a closer look at the wildlife, ecosystems and marvelous phenomena you can find in and around New Hampshire. But over the years there is one species in New Hampshire that we haven’t spent much time examining. A species, I think that has been conspicuous in its absence. Humans. So we’re grabbing the bull by the horns and digging in to a complex species that is an
July 19, 2019
New Hampshire benefits from the presence of seven different turtle species. This week on Something Wild we’re taking a closer look at two of the most common species you can find all over the state: painted turtles and snapping turtles. First off, we have to acknowledge that turtles are amazing, they’re like living fossils. Artist-naturalist David Carrol, has has spent a lifetime studying turtles describes them as "evolutionarily conservative." He said, "they go back to about 200-220 million
July 5, 2019
The specter of drought is often raised in these early days of summer. And for good reason, though water levels have returned to normal around the New Hampshire, state officials are still warning residents to remain cautious after last summer drought. And while we often fret about the health of our lawns and our gardens, Dave (from the Forest Society) wanted to address drought resistance among his favorite species, trees. So, we all know that trees need water to survive. Basically the many leaves
June 21, 2019
First Bitten is our periodic series at Something Wild where we study the people who study nature, and what set them on the path to do that. And this time around our two subjects under the microscope trace their love of nature back to their parents's nurture, specifically their fathers. Ron Davis grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Not a place known for for its lakes or streams or for vast expanses of wilderness; not a place you'd expect to find a future biologist. But that's where he started, "and
June 7, 2019
The foam formed eddies on the surface of the pool as Stevens Brook rushed down and through this particular crook in the waterway in the shadow of route-89 in East Sutton, New Hampshire. Something Wild paused here recently to talk fish with author and fish historian, Jack Noon, who is unapologetic about naming his favorite fish. The eastern brook trout is that for a smattering of reasons. First it’s a family thing. Noon, learned to fish at the elbow of his grandfather, who had a clear preference
May 24, 2019
Here at Something Wild we love all things wild (even blackflies !) but sometimes it can be helpful to look beyond a single species and consider how many species interact within a given environment. In our periodic series, New Hampshire’s Wild Neighborhoods, we endeavor to do just that and this time we’re looking at peatlands. Our Sherpa today is Ron Davis, a retired professor of ecology, limnology and wetland science from the University of Maine, Orono. Peatlands, as you might have guessed are
May 10, 2019
As spring tentatively unfolds around the state, (and the more diligent of us celebrate International Migratory Bird Day - 5/11) the familiar nuisance of black flies also reappears. And as annoying as we find them, as we’ve discussed earlier, they are a sign of healthy eco-system. The presence of black flies means there are sources of clean fresh running water nearby. Black flies are also among the explosion of insect protein in the northeast this time of year, which signals the arrival of more
April 26, 2019
We often think of the “food chain” in the natural world in linear terms: this eats that, which in turn, is eaten by the other. But today’s subject proves that chain is a little more like a web. The species we’re talking about today feeds on the most dangerous game, the apex of apex predators…us. And the species that prey on us? Mosquitos, of course! We recently spoke with Sarah MacGregor, an entomologist and founder of Dragon Mosquito Control, help us learn more about them. We often think about
April 12, 2019
On a recent edition of NHPR’s The Exchange, Chris and Iain MacLeod, Executive Director of the Squam Lake Natural Science Center were on hand to discuss one of their favorite species. Chris marveled at how bald eagles are everywhere in the state these days. “They’re nesting in Pittsburg; they’re nesting in Hinsdale; they’re nesting in Newcastle.” And they’re noisy, if you listen carefully you can hear their calls all over New Hampshire. The reason for their discussion and the revelation that
March 29, 2019
It’s an unmistakable sound. One that elicits memories, sights and scents of events long ago. It recalls the joy of youth, the possibility of a spring evening. But it can also incite insomnia and the blind rage that accompanies it. Pseudacris crucifer is better known as the spring peeper, and for most people it is a more welcome harbinger. These remarkable frogs spend the winter under leaf litter in a state if suspended animation. Once overnight temperatures are regularly in the forties, they
March 15, 2019
So much of New Hampshire’s natural beauty is obvious; from the top of a mountain trail, from the shore of a lake or pond, even from your kitchen window. You barely have to open your eyes to see it. But take a closer look, and beauty gives way to scientific wonder. That wonder may be inspired by the boiling of watery maple sap to sweet liquid sunshine; or by the majesty of an osprey wresting a writhing fish from a river. But keep an ear out this spring and you may witness wonder on molecular
March 1, 2019
As the snow starts to melt you might notice a stark contrast in the landscape. Maybe you were driving down the highway and noticed one shoulder was covered with snow while the other side was bare with a faint tinge of spring green shoots. The cause? Slope and aspect. Slope refers to the steepness of the land and aspect refers to the direction the land is facing. Slope and aspect determine how much sunlight a given piece of land receives. The landscape isn't equally endowed and that's most
February 15, 2019
It’s stick season in New Hampshire; the leaves are gone, our landscape exposed; a white nivean blanket covers everything you see. Our trees are dormant. Aren’t they? To look at them, it wouldn’t seem that trees aren’t doing much right now. But it turns out there’s more going on than meets the eye. The phenomenon of photosynthesis is well documented, we all know that plants use their leaves to convert sunlight into sugar, or carbohydrates. But that’s not the only place photosynthesis happens.
February 1, 2019
This week we have another edition of New Hampshire’s Wild Neighborhoods, where we take a closer look at one of the more than 200 natural communities you can find within the confines of our state border. Communities like the Alpine Zone or Red oak, Black birch Wooded Talus , but those are pretty rare. Today we’re heading to one of the most ubiquitous ecological landscapes in the world. The Coastal Sand Dune is found in nearly all latitudes from just outside the polar regions to the equator. But
January 22, 2019
Over the years, we’ve spoken to a lot people – mostly biologists – about how they were first bitten by the nature bug. Since these stories came from people who’ve made a living exploring, studying and maintaining the natural world, they follow familiar tropes: like an unexpected experience or sighting, or the influence of a parent or teacher who sparked that initial interest in the outdoors. Andrei Campeanu joined us on a hike co-hosted by Chris Martin and Dave Anderson recently. He isn’t a
January 4, 2019
Here at Something Wild, we don’t have a problem with winter. Aside from the snow and the cold and the freezing rain… okay, maybe we have a couple issues. But we have sweaters and hot cocoa and Netflix. Trees, however, do not. As the snow piles up, you may see trees bent over with their crowns nearly touching the ground, leafless and haggard. They can’t escape or hide from the cold, so how do trees survive? Just like any living thing, trees have adapted over time to deal with the range of
December 21, 2018
The diversity of New Hampshire’s habitats is staggering, as we’ve mentioned in the past there are more than 200 natural communities within our borders. This week, in another edition of New Hampshire’s Wild Neighborhoods Something Wild, again visits a rare habitat type. We’re going to visit the pitch pine scrub oak woodland, more commonly referred to as “pine barrens.” There are a few examples of this habitat in New Hampshire, but globally it’s pretty rare, too. To understand why pine barrens are
December 7, 2018
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. The snow and ice have muscled out the grass, and the chilly sounds of the north wind have blown away the dawn chorus that woke us this summer. 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
November 23, 2018
This weekend of plenty is a time to celebrate the abundant harvest. But for a lot of species in the New Hampshire wilds, this is likely the early days of a winter of discontent. Winter is always the lean time of the year, but this winter especially, biologists are expecting scarcity for all sorts of forest dwellers: birds, rodents and larger mammals. And naturally, our colleague from the Forest Society will remind us that it’s all because of the trees. And this time he’ll meet no disagreement.
November 9, 2018
On a Tuesday morning in summer, 2017, Chris Martin boarded the John B. Heiser, a 33-foot research vessel, headed for Duck Island. Mission: to count seals.
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