Off the Wall: the Power of Urban Wildlife Murals

When is a raccoon not just a raccoon? What can a dandelion teach us about changing the world? We talk with Evan Lovett of V.U.R.T. about their Philly Local Critter series of murals, including a pretzel-eating raccoon. We also hear from San Francisco-based, globe-trotting muralist Mona Caron, whose Weeds series teaches us about the power that even the humblest among us has to break through barriers.

mural of raccoon holding a Wawa pretzel

VURT Raccoon mural (pretzel from Wawa)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Off the Wall: the Power of Urban Wildlife Murals

Why not the City? Urban Hawk Walk

Dr. Christian Hunold, a political scientist at Drexel University, is a dedicated wildlife photographer and wrote a paper, Why not the City?, about the hawks of Center City Philadelphia, the humans who watch and love them, and what all that says about how we regard wild animals in urban settings. Tony and Billy go hawk watching with Christian Hunold around Logan Circle in the heart of Philadelphia. As soon as you’re done listening, head on over to the Field Guides podcast for their own urban hawk episode looking at Cooper’s hawks!

Mom, the red-tailed hawk.

Mom, a hawk of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why not the City? Urban Hawk Walk

War

It’s the worst thing humans do, but nature fills in the scars on city landscapes. We discuss how naturalists from London to Berlin studied the ruins, and we hear from the Urban Birder, David Lindo, about the black redstart, a bird that took advantage of England’s bombed spaces after WWII. Seth Degginger joins us to talk about the wildlife he saw while in training and on deployment with the Army Reserves. We conclude Nassrine Azimi and an introduction to Green Legacy Hiroshima, a program that shares seeds from trees that survived the nuclear bomb blast.

Black Redstart

Black Redstart (by Devid Lindo).

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on War

Special Episode: Robin in Rome

This summer our frequent guest host Robin Irizarry (Philadelphia Watershed Coordinator for the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership) took a trip to Rome. Lots of people see the history, enjoy the culture and food of the eternal city. Robin brought his binoculars and looked for wildlife.

Robin with Philly-style graffiti in Rome, "Philly 215."

Robin with Philly-style graffiti in Rome.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Special Episode: Robin in Rome

Nature and Nature Lovers in Palestine

It’s easy to be a birder in Philadelphia, but what about Bethlehem (not the one near Allentown) or the Gaza Strip? Learn about nature and nature loving under occupation, and hear about two organizations training citizen scientists, educating children about nature, and advancing environmental preservation where it isn’t quite as easy. We speak with Mazin Qumsiyeh of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Imad Atrash of the Palestine Wildlife Society about their programming and the wildlife of Palestine (like lesser kestrels on the walls of Jerusalem). Tony and Billy reflect on how social injustice manifests in how we experience nature, from Palestine to West Philadelphia.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Nature and Nature Lovers in Palestine

Things that go Flap in the Night: Nighthawks and Bats at the Cemetery

Nighthawks and bats come out at dusk to fatten up on cemetery bugs before migration and hibernation. In this special mini episode, we take a page from the Field Guides and record a full episode outside at one of our favorite urban parks, the Mount Moriah Cemetery. Tony and Billy bring along our partners and one very excited five-year-old, jacked up on hot chocolate and urban wildlife.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Things that go Flap in the Night: Nighthawks and Bats at the Cemetery

Shiners, Mussels, and Marbled Sallies: Helping Critters that Rely on City Waters

Fish and mussel tanks at the Philadelphia, Fairmount Park Waterworks.

Fish and mussel tanks at the Philadelphia, Fairmount Park Waterworks mussel hatchery.

Tony and Billy join Robin Irizarry (Philadelphia Watershed Coordinator for the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership) at his Irizarry Hillstead and hear Bryan Windmiller talk about Grassroots Wildlife Conservation‘s work with marbled salamanders and bridle shiners in the Boston area and about mussels in the Philadelphia area. Billy takes a mussel hatchery tour with Kurt Cheng of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Shiners, Mussels, and Marbled Sallies: Helping Critters that Rely on City Waters

Rattlesnakes and Urbanization (Special Listener-Generated Episode)

What’s it like to be a rattlesnake in an urbanizing landscape, keeping to your patch, dodging car tires if you leave? In this special episode we air an interview that listener and wildlife biologist Pete Havlik did with Ecologist/Conservation Biologist Matt Goode of the University of Arizona. We hear about rattlers in the Tucson, Arizona area (including the Tumamoc Hill reserve) and also about Dr. Goode’s work with king cobras (the King Cobra Conservancy) in India as they discuss how we can best get along with wild animals in an urbanizing world.

Also check out our other rattler episodes: Timbers on a Boston Island, and One Man’s Pest is Another’s Gorgeous Rattlesnake.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Rattlesnakes and Urbanization (Special Listener-Generated Episode)

We the Weeds

Zya Levy and Kaitlin Pomerantz of the We the Weeds project join us for a weed walk in the neighborhood. Then we retire back at the Urban Wildlife Podcast studio with invasive species beverages, including a cocktail featuring utopic/dystopic bitters.

(learn about the bitters here: WTWBOOKLETDRINKSMUGWORT)

Epazote rising from a bed of lambs quarters.

Epazote rising from a bed of lambs quarters.

Sow thistle

Sow thistle

broad leaved plantain

broadleaf plantain

Virginia pepperweed

Virginia Pepperweed

Ailanthus

Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

Kaitlin Pomerantz' tatoo (Brooke Herr)

Artist Brooke Herr’s mugwort inspired tattoo (on Kaitlin Pomerantz’s leg).

Curb-crack purslane

Purslane growing from the edge of the curb.

Poke weed

Poke weed every day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on We the Weeds

Wildlife Bling: Red Squirrels, Black Rat Snakes, Lunch with Hawks

On this impromptu, patched-together, mini episode, we present recordings in the moment: Mike McGraw, Billy, and Magnolia check out a Philadelphia black rat snake; Billy nerds out over urban short-headed garter snakes in Pittsburgh; and a red-tailed hawk picks up some squirrel takeout for lunch. Also Tony and Billy talk about the red squirrel that visited Tony’s office, Tony recounts a Bird Philly urban raptor walk with Christian Hunold, and Tony gets a promotion.

young black rat snake

Wee black rat snake found by Mike McGraw (his photo via PARS)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wildlife Bling: Red Squirrels, Black Rat Snakes, Lunch with Hawks