Special Episode: Tony in Australia

Tony doesn’t take it easy on vacation. In December he flew to Australia to bird, herp, and explore. Of course he checked out some urban wildlife while he was down there, and in this episode we listen to his interviews with a Torresian imperial pigeon researcher with PIPwatch in Cairns (lead researcher Dr. Julia Hazel), Dr. John Martin in Sydney (who researchers basically all their urban wildlife) at the Royal Botanic Garden, and with Tony’s herping buddies on an evening excursion on the outskirts of Sydney.

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Happy World Sparrow Day [Re-post]

[This is a re-post of our World Sparrow Day episode in honor of… World Sparrow Day 2017!!!]

We celebrate World Sparrow Day (March 20th) with a look at Passer domesticus, a bird North American birders love to hate but that is in a mysterious decline in its native Eurasian range.

We hear from Mohammed Dilawar, founder of India’s Nature Forever Society and of World Sparrow Day, about the state of the sparrow in India and the victory of getting it declared the state bird of Delhi.

Tony talks to urban researcher Jessica Burnett about her house sparrow research and how the Unholy Trio might not be so… unholy.

Robin Irrizary, Philadelphia Watershed Coordinator for the TTF Watershed Partnership and avid urban naturalist joins Tony and Billy to talk about sparrows and about how someday his children will be able to carry out all the citizen science projects he never had time to do.

So plug us in, step outside your front door, and raise your binoculars to celebrate the house sparrow.

spwrrow.on.antenna

West Philly House Sparrow across the street from Billy’s house

And here’s that anti-sparrow piece from 1917 that we mentioned.

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Wonder Wall Lizards

European wall lizards are spreading, and we’re gonna talk and sing about it. Dr. Russell Burke from Hofstra University tells us about the wall lizards of New York, and Dr. Kenneth Petren of the University of Cincinnati talks about his city’s “Lazarus lizards.” And what wall lizard discussion would be complete without a song? Dig the release of Tony and Matthew Halley’s latest hit, “Wonder Wall Lizard.”

(and if you see a Cincinnati wall lizard, report it here: http://www.uc.edu/lizards/)

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Cat Wars

Pete Marra joins us for a special episode to talk about his (and Chris Santella’s) book Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly KillerPete will be speaking on Thursday February 23rd at 6:30 pm at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia.

featuring an interview Cover of Cat Wars book

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Urban Sea Turtles

Urban wildlife isn’t just on land, especially in the world’s biggest port cities. In this episode we hear about what happens when turtles navigate the urban/ocean interface. We hear from Umair Shahid from WWF Pakistan about Karachi’s sea turtles, Dr. Russell Burke from Hofstra University talks about the diamondback terrapins (brackish water turtles) of New York, and Cassandra Davis of the Aquarium of the Pacific talks about the green sea turtles of the channelized San Gabriel River in Long Beach, CA. Matt Halley joins us as guest host and reminds listeners that he and other ornithologists would love to get their hands on dead birds you find on the sidewalk.

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Mapping the Micro Wilderness: Urban Bugs

Urban biodiversity explodes as you shrink your view. Explore urban invertebrate biodiversity projects in Los Angeles (BioScan) and Boston (Boston Harbor Islands All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory). Guest host Isa Betancourt (remember her from Season 1?) joins us to share her own urban bug research and education work.

And here’s a link to some info about the featured beetle Bembidion nigropiceum. See some pics here.

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Smog, Sprawl, and Lifers: Birding Shanghai

White bellied green pigeon, Shanhai, by Craig Brelsford

White bellied green pigeon, Shanhai, by Craig Brelsford

 

What is urban birding like in the biggest city in the world? Join Tony as he interviews Craig Brelsford, the birder behind Shanghai Birding. They discuss birding in a city of 24 million souls, all while racing rampant coastal development and fighting dense smog.

And here’s Billy’s favorite Shanghai Birding post, White-bellied Green Pigeon! (or, How We Slogged Our Way through the Shanghai Smog and Picked Up a Lifer).

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You Deserve Hedgehogs

How do you bring biodiversity to urbanites? Guest host Joan Blaustein of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation joins us to talk about preserving urban parks biodiversity. We also listen to Dr. Nigel Reeve tell us about the effort to save the hedgehogs of London’s Regent Park. We conclude with Billy’s recent trip to NYC to see some monk parakeets and the humpback whales we covered in our very first episode.

Hedgehog seen through thermal imaging (Royal Parks Foundation).

Hedgehog seen through thermal imaging (Royal Parks Foundation).

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Wall Swifts, Wall Lizards, Wall Dolphins? (Part 2)

Sometimes the artificial IS natural. Helena Van Vliet of BioPhilly (of the Biophilic Cities network) joins us as guest host to envision cities as habitat. Of course several species already use cities as habitat:

  • We listen to Amnonn Hahn of Friends of the Swifts talk about the swifts of Israel and the Western Wall
  • Mauro Ferri talks about efforts to preserve Italian swift architecture/habitat
  • Karen Etter Hale of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative talks North American chimney swift trends and conservation
  • Frank Spikmans of RAVON talks about preserving railroad embankment habitat for wall lizards in Maastricht, Netherlands
  • And Nicholas Horne tells us about the dolphins of Aberdeen in Scotland and how they use the harbor seawall to hunt salmon.

This was too much for one episode, so split it into two parts.

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Wall Swifts, Wall Lizards, Wall Dolphins? (Part 1)

Sometimes the artificial IS natural. Helena Van Vliet of BioPhilly (of the Biophilic Cities network) joins us as guest host to envision cities as habitat. Of course several species already use cities as habitat:

  • We listen to Amnonn Hahn of Friends of the Swifts talk about the swifts of Israel and the Western Wall
  • Mauro Ferri talks about efforts to preserve Italian swift architecture/habitat
  • Karen Etter Hale of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative talks North American chimney swift trends and conservation
  • Frank Spikmans of RAVON talks about preserving railroad embankment habitat for wall lizards in Maastricht, Netherlands
  • And Nicholas Horne tells us about the dolphins of Aberdeen in Scotland and how they use the harbor seawall to hunt salmon.

This was too much for one episode, so split it into two parts.

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