Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center

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Website
http://mtpr.org/programs/field-notes
Description
For keen observers, a walk to the grocery store or a hike up a mountain can inspire questions. Where do magpies nest? Why doesn’t a spider stick to its own web? How do water striders keep from sinking? Every week since 1992, Field Notes has inquired about Montana's natural history. Produced by the Montana Natural History Center, Field Notes are written by naturalists, students and listeners about the puzzle-tree bark, eagle talons, woolly aphids and giant puffballs of western, central and southwestern Montana.
Language
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-05-21 08:58
last episode published
2019-05-20 11:06
publication frequency
7.28 days
Contributors
ltalbott author  
MTPR owner  
Explicit
false
Number of Episodes
132
Rss-Feeds
Detail page
Categories
Science & Medicine Sports & Recreation Natural Sciences Outdoor

Recommendations


Episodes

Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors
20.05.2019

For Birds, Being Friendly With The Neighbors Has Perks

It’s spring in the Rocky Mountains, the air is filled with birdsong and my feathered neighbors are back again. Recently, a pair of American robins arrived and set up housekeeping in the neighbor’s maple tree, just as a pair did last year. There’s a son...
Chris Paige author
7.05.2019

Glacier Lilies: Enchanting Yellow Lights Of Spring

"Glacier lilies set standards in beauty and cultural importance. These charming flowers are the lights of spring, indicators of winter’s end, symbols of nutrition, yellow images of patience and longevity, and for me, a new and solid representation of p...
Melissa Matthewson author
29.04.2019

Mountain Lions: '150 Pounds Of Lithe And Splendid Beasthood'

As the rising sun chases away the glittering stars, a slinking figure moves within the shadows of the trees with grace born only of felines. A small herd of mule deer feed in an adjacent clearing, oblivious to the impending danger. Then, with a flurry ...
Byron Weckworth author
15.04.2019

Whitebark Pine: The Crown Of The Continent's Vanishing Giants

I first visited Glacier National Park in June. Though winter had only recently loosened its grip on the Crown of the Continent, there were blue skies and sunshine as I hiked up a high-elevation glacial basin. The temperature was a balmy 60 degrees.
Nick Voss author
8.04.2019

Truffles, Trees And — Squirrels?

Walking through the woods recently, I saw a red squirrel digging in the litter of the forest floor. I assumed it was burying a pine cone, but on closer inspection I found a piece of mushroom. Little did I know I was witnessing a process critical to the...
Sue Reel author
27.03.2019

Do Bobcats Kill Deer? 'Field Notes' Investigates

Bobcats are relatively common in patchy habitats all across the U.S., but we don’t see them often because they are crepuscular or nocturnal and well camouflaged. But after a recent bobcat sighting, I'll be on the lookout for bobcats much more than I ha...
Ellen Knight author
19.03.2019

The Quiet Giant With A Raucous Rookery: A Great Blue Heron's Double Life

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been on a river, at any time of year, and not seen a Great Blue Heron . They seem to stand as solitary sentries on the rivers of Montana, but also on rivers from Canada to South America.
Sarahlee Lawrence author
11.03.2019

'Field Notes': Butterfly Winter Survival Strategies

Here's a topic you might not be thinking much about right now. Remember all those colorful butterflies that visited your garden just a few short months ago? They seemed the very definition of summer. What's happened to those delicate creatures?
Brett Walker author
4.03.2019

'Field Notes': Camas Bulbs Below The Snow

On a recent early winter morning I am cross-country skiing along the trails at Lolo Pass in the Bitterroot Mountains. As I glide along Packer Meadows in the breaking dawn, I think about early summer when this is a wet meadow awash with a sea of blue-vi...
Nancy Heil author
25.02.2019

Forget The Powder; Why Some Animals Prefer Crusty Snow

This morning, the valley sits under a blanket of fresh snow, and another few inches is forecast for tomorrow. I love the first day or two after a snowfall when everything is still white and clean, before the snow’s presence in town becomes more of a hi...
Drew Lefebvre author
25.02.2019

Forget The Powder; Why Some Animals Prefer Crusty Snow

This morning, the valley sits under a blanket of fresh snow, and another few inches is forecast for tomorrow. I love the first day or two after a snowfall when everything is still white and clean, before the snow’s presence in town becomes more of a hi...
Drew Lefebvre author
28.01.2019

'Field Notes:' How Insects Survive Montana Winters

Every autumn I begin to wonder – where do all the bugs go? Unlike people, and other warm-blooded critters that can maintain a consistent internal temperature, insects cannot. So, you might wonder, what do insects do to survive the cold?
Ashely King author
28.01.2019

'Field Notes:' How Insects Survive Montana Winters

Every autumn I begin to wonder – where do all the bugs go? Unlike people, and other warm-blooded critters that can maintain a consistent internal temperature, insects cannot. So, you might wonder, what do insects do to survive the cold?
Ashely King author
20.01.2019

'Field Notes': Why Dead Standing Trees Are Essential To Forests

One of my favorite places to look in the forest is up. I love the way trees frame patches of sky, and how rays of sun slide over the branches and slant into pockets of darkness. On a recent stroll through the woods near Echo lake, I found myself, as us...
Emily Miller author
20.01.2019

'Field Notes': Why Dead Standing Trees Are Essential To Forests

One of my favorite places to look in the forest is up. I love the way trees frame patches of sky, and how rays of sun slide over the branches and slant into pockets of darkness. On a recent stroll through the woods near Echo lake, I found myself, as us...
Emily Miller author
14.01.2019

'Field Notes' Investigates Gizzard Grit

Afternoon sunshine was softening into twilight on a recent fall day as I drove with my family down a forest road in the mountains north of Missoula. We were heading home after a day of hiking and grouse hunting—and we had a blue grouse to roast for din...
Kathleen Ort author
14.01.2019

'Field Notes' Investigates Gizzard Grit

Afternoon sunshine was softening into twilight on a recent fall day as I drove with my family down a forest road in the mountains north of Missoula. We were heading home after a day of hiking and grouse hunting—and we had a blue grouse to roast for din...
Kathleen Ort author
7.01.2019

Tough But Sensitive: How Climate Change Threatens Bull Trout

In the beginning, the idea of global warming was easy for me to ignore. Of course I found the footage of floating polar bears distressing, but the ice caps seemed far away, and scientists seemed even farther from any real answers.
Jane Sullivan author
7.01.2019

Tough But Sensitive: How Climate Change Threatens Bull Trout

In the beginning, the idea of global warming was easy for me to ignore. Of course I found the footage of floating polar bears distressing, but the ice caps seemed far away, and scientists seemed even farther from any real answers.
Jane Sullivan author
24.12.2018

Why No Two Snowflakes Look Alike

You know the old saying “no two snowflakes are alike”? Well, there may be more truth to that than you think. I am from Hillsboro, Oregon, where the snow falls in wet, indistinguishable clumps. When I moved to Montana, I immediately noticed a difference...
Brooke Carlisle author
17.12.2018

How Fir Trees Became Christmas Trees

Fir trees, decorated and lighted, are such a fixture of American homes at Christmas that it's difficult for us to imagine that it was not always so. But on a time scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the beginning of life on earth, the Christmas tree traditi...
Pat Tucker author
17.12.2018

How Fir Trees Became Christmas Trees

Fir trees, decorated and lighted, are such a fixture of American homes at Christmas that it's difficult for us to imagine that it was not always so. But on a time scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the beginning of life on earth, the Christmas tree traditi...
Pat Tucker author
10.12.2018

Western Montana's Winter Inversions Explained

Since my recent move to Missoula from the sunny state of Florida, I had experienced many unfamiliar weather conditions. Montana residents might be well accustomed to snow, black ice, negative temperatures, and the season known as winter, but these were...
Ondi Crino author
10.12.2018

Western Montana's Winter Inversions Explained

Since my recent move to Missoula from the sunny state of Florida, I had experienced many unfamiliar weather conditions. Montana residents might be well accustomed to snow, black ice, negative temperatures, and the season known as winter, but these were...
Ondi Crino author
26.11.2018

'Field Notes:' The Power Of The Western Red Cedar

The ides of November, a time of limbo between autumn and winter. It is my birthday. I take a walk in celebration of existence. The atmosphere is cool and gray, and the first layers of high-elevation snow have cast a renewed sense of dimension and perso...
Mike Roesch author
26.11.2018

'Field Notes:' The Power Of The Western Red Cedar

The ides of November, a time of limbo between autumn and winter. It is my birthday. I take a walk in celebration of existence. The atmosphere is cool and gray, and the first layers of high-elevation snow have cast a renewed sense of dimension and perso...
Mike Roesch author
13.11.2018

'Field Notes:' North America's Pleistocene Megafauna

A cheetah crouches in the tall grass. Pronghorn graze warily in the cool summer breeze. After minutes of quiet patience the cheetah erupts into a burst of muscle and speed. A small herd of pronghorn sprint into action, their nimble legs churning ground...
Thomas McKean author
13.11.2018

'Field Notes:' North America's Pleistocene Megafauna

A cheetah crouches in the tall grass. Pronghorn graze warily in the cool summer breeze. After minutes of quiet patience the cheetah erupts into a burst of muscle and speed. A small herd of pronghorn sprint into action, their nimble legs churning ground...
Thomas McKean author
5.11.2018

'Field Notes:' Glaciers 101

Glaciers: they are sculptors, carvers and artists. When the Bitterroot Mountains, the Missions and the Rockies were raised from the floor of the ocean it was the glaciers that came behind, crawling over the surface, grinding and eroding the face of the...
Charles Finn author
5.11.2018

'Field Notes:' Glaciers 101

Glaciers: they are sculptors, carvers and artists. When the Bitterroot Mountains, the Missions and the Rockies were raised from the floor of the ocean it was the glaciers that came behind, crawling over the surface, grinding and eroding the face of the...
Charles Finn author
29.10.2018

Fall Migration Brings Golden Eagles To Montana

I had been sitting in the observation blind for a couple of hours when I heard a commotion outside. Looking through the one-way glass, I saw an enormous bird with a golden crown and talons that were built for serious damage. Another landed nearby. I kn...
Kristie Lawson author
29.10.2018

Fall Migration Brings Golden Eagles To Montana

I had been sitting in the observation blind for a couple of hours when I heard a commotion outside. Looking through the one-way glass, I saw an enormous bird with a golden crown and talons that were built for serious damage. Another landed nearby. I kn...
Kristie Lawson author
22.10.2018

'Field Notes:' What Determines When Leaves Fall?

Every autumn, deciduous trees and shrubs shed their leaves. In some years, leaves are shed earlier than in others. Why does this happen? What determines when leaves fall?
Peter Lesica author
22.10.2018

'Field Notes:' What Determines When Leaves Fall?

Every autumn, deciduous trees and shrubs shed their leaves. In some years, leaves are shed earlier than in others. Why does this happen? What determines when leaves fall?
Peter Lesica author
8.10.2018

'Field Notes:' Bull Snake Encounter

One recent summer a group of friends and I floated the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho. On this eight day trip we rafted 100 miles through some of the wildest country in North America: a 2.5 million-acre wildland officially called the ...
Edward Monnig author
8.10.2018

'Field Notes:' Bull Snake Encounter

One recent summer a group of friends and I floated the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho. On this eight day trip we rafted 100 miles through some of the wildest country in North America: a 2.5 million-acre wildland officially called the ...
Edward Monnig author
24.09.2018

Are You Mis-Using These Common Tree Terms?

As I split and stacked my winter firewood this fall in preparation for the long nights to come, trees in the surrounding forest were also preparing for winter. While I watched their leaves turning yellow along the flank of the Bitterroot Mountains, I f...
Bill Gabriel author
24.09.2018

Are You Mis-Using These Common Tree Terms?

As I split and stacked my winter firewood this fall in preparation for the long nights to come, trees in the surrounding forest were also preparing for winter. While I watched their leaves turning yellow along the flank of the Bitterroot Mountains, I f...
Bill Gabriel author
17.09.2018

'Field Notes:' 100 Centuries Of Squash Growers Can't Be Wrong

August had just begun when a friend delivered my first hand-me-down squash of the summer: a round, green variegated giant that had reached the size of a jack-o-lantern seemingly overnight, just the way squash like to do. Later in the kitchen, I eyed do...
Kara Cromwell author
17.09.2018

'Field Notes:' 100 Centuries Of Squash Growers Can't Be Wrong

August had just begun when a friend delivered my first hand-me-down squash of the summer: a round, green variegated giant that had reached the size of a jack-o-lantern seemingly overnight, just the way squash like to do. Later in the kitchen, I eyed do...
Kara Cromwell author
10.09.2018

Ancient Giants: The Mysterious Beauty Of An Aspen Grove

The hot summer sun beats down on my back as I climb the trail to the ridge. Looking for a place to wait for my hiking companion, I find a grove of quaking aspen. Their distinctive white bark is beautiful and their leaves rustle at the hint of a breeze.
Gilia Patterson author
10.09.2018

Ancient Giants: The Mysterious Beauty Of An Aspen Grove

The hot summer sun beats down on my back as I climb the trail to the ridge. Looking for a place to wait for my hiking companion, I find a grove of quaking aspen. Their distinctive white bark is beautiful and their leaves rustle at the hint of a breeze.
Gilia Patterson author
27.08.2018

Citizen Scientists Can Help Unravel The Mysteries Of Dragonfly Migration

In August, 2010, my family and I watched from our backyard an unbelievable phenomenon: a single species of dragonfly, individually numbering in the thousands, flew steadily westward across our property on the edge of town for ten magical days. Occasion...
Andrea Stephens author
27.08.2018

Citizen Scientists Can Help Unravel The Mysteries Of Dragonfly Migration

In August, 2010, my family and I watched from our backyard an unbelievable phenomenon: a single species of dragonfly, individually numbering in the thousands, flew steadily westward across our property on the edge of town for ten magical days. Occasion...
Andrea Stephens author
20.08.2018

What Does A Longer Fire Season Mean For Montana Forests?

July of 2015 was the warmest month on record in the history of our planet, 2015 is on trend to be our warmest recorded year, and in much of the American west that warmth has been coupled with moderate to extreme drought conditions. With emissions of gr...
Tom Torma author
20.08.2018

What Does A Longer Fire Season Mean For Montana Forests?

July of 2015 was the warmest month on record in the history of our planet, 2015 is on trend to be our warmest recorded year, and in much of the American west that warmth has been coupled with moderate to extreme drought conditions. With emissions of gr...
Tom Torma author
13.08.2018

'Field Notes:' All About Skippers

Out on a run on a spring day only a stone’s throw from the Flathead River on the watery outskirts of the town of Hungry Horse, I have stopped for a moment and listen to the river. With its rustling it seems to applaud my efforts. And as I go back and f...
John Copeland author
13.08.2018

'Field Notes:' All About Skippers

Out on a run on a spring day only a stone’s throw from the Flathead River on the watery outskirts of the town of Hungry Horse, I have stopped for a moment and listen to the river. With its rustling it seems to applaud my efforts. And as I go back and f...
John Copeland author
6.08.2018

Fishing With The King: The Belted Kingfisher

While recently visiting the Rock Creek area to simply go fishing I became distracted as I cast my red skwala into the clear, frigid stream. I was not distracted by the surrounding beauty of grasslands and different flora, or my ongoing love/hate relati...
Jason Brininstool author
30.07.2018

How Wildfires Impact Deer And Elk

How devastating are wildfires to deer and elk? Can most of them outrun or outflank a rapidly spreading fire? And what about the survivors when they return to a burned forest? Isn’t their habitat destroyed?
Mike Hillis author