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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Raccoons (not really Nazis) and Raccoon Dogs

Learn more about your cute, furry, smart, and sometimes destructive mesopredator neighbors. Christian Hunold, political scientist and urban wildlife photographer extraordinaire, joins us as guest host has we hear about German (not exactly Nazi) raccoons from researcher Ulf Hohmann, about clever urban raccoons from researcher Susanne MacDonald, and Tokyo’s palm civets and tanuki (a.k.a. raccoon dogs) from Matt Alt. And yes, we talk about the tanuki’s magical scrotums.

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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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