Lions and Tegus and Deer! Find them in the Park Next Door

Get wild right down the street. This episode we podcast from the Wissahickon Valley in Philadelphia and talk about the wild parks right next to or right in our cities. We hear from Akshay Vishwanath of the Friends of Nairobi National Park in Kenya and Cora Rimaldi, who birds the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Billy fondly remembers the tegus. What are the pressures facing wild lands next to growing cities? What does “wild” mean when it’s post-industrial? Let’s talk about it.

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Parakeets Invade!

What are rose-ringed parakeets doing in London, or in Tokyo, or Amsterdam, or in Glasgow…? Learn about how escaped pets birds are colonizing cities around the globe. Matt Halley joins us to talk about his own parrot field work and to discuss urban parakeets. We hear from Krishna Girish of Off Road Birder to learn about the rose-ringed parakeets in their native range (Bangalore), we hear from Ralph Hancock of London to hear about how their exotic parakeets feed the local raptors, and we go back to Sourav Mahmud to hear about his work to help the alexandrine parakeets of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

(and we wind up with some bonus urban birding discussion with Krishna)

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Bonus: Awesome Turtles and Youth Research Assistants

Tobias Landberg & Snapper

Tobias Landberg & Snapper (Patrick Raycraft)

What’s cooler than turtles breaking a bite-o-meter? High school urban ecology research assistants, that’s what! We had so much great conversation with Tobias Landberg from Episode 13 that we’re posting some more of it as a bonus episode. Tony and Tobias share notes on turning kids onto science through hands on research, and we all geek out over the wonders of snapping turtles.

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Assisting Axolotls, Transplanting Toads, and Preserving Pond Turtles

Urban wildlife can’t always take care of itself. Herpetologist Tobias Landberg of Arcadia University joins us as we take our podcast to Mexico City with Luis Zambrano of the Reserva Ecologica del Pedregal de San Angel and a project to save the axolotl from extinction in the wild (as opposed to captivity, where they thrive as a research subject). We also talk to Phillip Spinks of UCLA about the pond turtles of California and hear about Tobias’ work with axolotls in the lab as well as taking urban toads to the suburban Briar Bush Nature Center.

Axolotl

Axolotl (by Carmen Loyola)

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Bonus: Nature on Tour, and Synanthropic Organism – the Song!

Tony Croasdale was always a birder. But before he was a podcast host, an environmental educator, or a biologist, he was a anarcho punk star with R.A.M.B.O.

This bonus episode features Tony’s ex-bandmate and fellow naturalist Bull Bolo, Liam Wilson of the Dillinger Escape Plan, and Shearwater’s Jonathon Meiburg talking about the wildlife you see on the road when you’re touring Europe, Asia, and North Philadelphia.

And thanks to popular demand, Tony has joined forces with Matt Halley, Liam, and drummer Patrick Forest to bring us the full single version of “Synanthropic Organism.” Urban Wildlife never sounded this good.

tony-in-concert

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Urban Birding, Part 2

Any city in the world you go, you will find birders. To prove it we bring you conversations with guest host Keith Russell, of Audubon PA, as well as birders from around the world. In Part 2 Tykee James and Billy interview the globetrotting Urban Birder himself, David Lindo, and we continue our discussion with Keith Russell.

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Urban Birding, Part 1

Any city in the world you go, you will find birders. To prove it we bring you conversations with guest host Keith Russell, of Audubon PA, as well as birders from around the world. In Part 1 we join Keith Russell on a walk at the East Park Reservoir, the site of Audubon and Outward Bound‘s future Discovery Center in Philadelphia. We also talk with Mike Lu of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and with Dr. Joseph Onoja of the Lekki Bird Club in Lagos, Nigeria.

Black Winged Stilts at Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, Mike Lu

Black Winged Stilts at Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, Mike Lu

 

 

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One Man’s Pest is Another’s Gorgeous Rattlesnake

It’s hard to appreciate wildlife when it’s eating your food or giving you asthma. Michelle Niedermeier of the Penn State Cooperative Extension’s Integrated Pest Management program joins Billy and Tony to talk about how to get along with our non-human neighbors without poisoning everyone. Billy joins Bryan Hughes of Rattlesnake Solutions in Phoenix, AZ to learn about how to make peace with urban rattlesnakes. Last, Billy traps much meeker quarry (mice) in his kitchen, and Lawrence Crawford helps us wax poetic about mice (in Scots, so read along and click on the unfamiliar words) with the immortal Robert Burns.

western diamond back rattler next to bag of snake repellent

Some things work, some things don’t, to keep rattlers away.

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Fruit Bats, Prairie Dogs, and Sausage Weasels

No theme this week, just an episode jam packed with some of our favorite urban mammals: We talk about the fruit bats (flying foxes) that call Australian cities (and lots of Asian and African cities too) home with Maree Treadwell Kerr of the Australasian Bat Society, prairie dogs that live in vacant lots rather than where the buffalo roam with Dr. Seth Magle of the Urban Wildlife Institute of the Lincoln Park Zoo, and we talk to two naturalists (Zhu Lei and Jeremy Goldkorn of Danwei) and  about the Siberian weasels of Beijing, threatened by the decline of the hutong neighborhoods they call home, and at least one of which that figured out how to raid a supermarket for sausage.

Siberian weasel stealing sausage from a Beijing supermarket.

Siberian weasel stealing sausage from a Beijing supermarket.

We do all this while sitting on Billy’s roof (scene of past microbat sightings) with Tony’s BFF and former band mate Bull, who also lends us a hand as we fail to ID flour beetles from Billy’s parents’ cornmeal. Last, we get some #wildlifebling from Kaitlyn Dunagan, who tells about house geckos in San Salvador.

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Humping Deer, Bearded Dragons, and Singing Toads: Part II

We had so much fun with cemeteries that we made two episodes! We record as guests of guest host Jessica Baumert, director of the the historic Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia. There we learned about their grave-digging ground hogs, shagging stags, and (family-friendly) nature programming with fireflies, moths, and bats.

We hear from cemeteries around the world: an overview of the famous Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in East London; amphibians settling in at Mt. Auburn in Cambridge, MA; and a census the lizards hanging around the graves of Brisbane, Australia.

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