The Vermont Center for Ecostudies and VPR unite the sounds and science of nature in this monthly feature. The program is hosted by biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra, who share their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm for wildlife education and conservation.
Outdoor Radio: Invasive Zebra Mussels
7:53Zebra Mussels are an invasive species in Lake Champlain. Not only do they consume a great deal of the food supply in the lake, but they also attack native mussel species by sticking to them and robbing them of fresh water and food. The Zebra Mussel can reach a density of 100,000 per square meter, covering exhaust and intake pipes for water treatment and power plants.
Outdoor Radio: On The Hunt For Invasive Worms
7:14There are 19 species of worms in Vermont. Three of them are considered invasive; they are known as snake worms or jumping worms. These busy, invasive worms change the forest floor and the content of the soil, making it difficult for new growth to take root. This affects the habitat and food source of wildlife and the future of the forest itself.
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Outdoor Radio: "Backyard Biodiversity"
7:50In these times of social distancing, when people can feel disconnected from one another, it's important to realize that nature is just outside your door. From bird songs to green frogs' croaking chatter, stay connected to the outdoors by exploring your own "backyard biodiversity."
Outdoor Radio: Red-winged Blackbirds "A True Sign Of Spring"
6:56Birdwatchers know that when they see the Red-winged Blackbird return, spring is on its way. These birds are numerous and everywhere. The males are stark-black with a red epaulette, a striking flash of color on their wings, that they use to attract mates and ward off other competing males.
Outdoor Radio: Blue Jays, "Engineers Of The Forest"
7:42Blue jays are pretty common. We see them all the time, and yet, they still have mysteries to share with us. Blue jays are also known as the "engineers of the forest." Their diet consists of acorns and beech nuts and they take these seeds to new areas and cache, or bury, their food. Sometimes they forget to come back to get these stored nuts and seeds allowing them to grow. The birds are planting new trees and expanding the forest.
Outdoor Radio: Is There Such A Thing As A January Thaw?
7:39In the past 125 years, only two Januarys have stayed below freezing for the entire month. Some Vermonters relish a period of warmer temperatures while others lament the melting snow. Is there such a thing as a regular, consistent January thaw?
Outdoor Radio: The Winter Flight Of The Bruce Spanworm Moth
5:51You don't expect to see a moth in November, but these winter moths have adapted to thrive in the cold. The operophtera bruceata, or the Bruce Spanworm moth, spends the summer as a catapiller in the canopy of hardwood trees. They eat and eat, getting bigger until they fall down into the leaf litter and pupate. As the weather turns cold, around the end of October, they emerge as adults. This comes in very handy for these moths, because most of the birds have migrated away and there are very few predators left.
Outdoor Radio: Hunting The Ferocius Vermont Tiger Beetle
7:32If you've been in the woods or in the garden and spotted a quick flash of metallic emerald that was there one second and gone the next, then you have probably encountered a tiger beetle. These insects earn their name. They are fast, fierce predators, even as larva. There are 16 species of tiger beetles that have been spotted in Vermont. Out of those 16, almost half are considered to be of conservation concern.
Outdoor Radio: Counting Endangered Terns On Champlain's Papasquash Island
7:37Hard hats in hand, Biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra head to the docks at Lake Champlain. They are taking a boat to Papasquash Island, owned by Audubon Vermont, to help count the new breeding population of common terns.