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wildlife

Merlin Tuttle / Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation

Bats get a bad rap. People are afraid of animals that tap into our deepest fears and revulsions. Bats aren't cuddly, they fly at night, have big eyes that can’t see, and conjure creepy images of vampires who steal the  blood of the unsuspecting as they sleep. 

Black and white warbler
Scott Kruitbosch for Connecticut Audubon Society

Spring is usually a busy time for bird enthusiasts since it’s peak season for bird traffic. But since the pandemic, interest in bird-watching seems to be soaring. 

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

Wood Thrush
Paul J. Fusco

Have you noticed fewer sparrows or warblers flitting about your backyard? Bird populations in North America have been declining for years, but in 2019, the data was particularly grim. Two-thirds of bird species are at risk of extinction due to climate change and urbanization, according to recent studies. What does that mean for Connecticut’s birds?

On "good" bad days, the shells lie open at the bottom of the river, shimmering in the refracted sunlight. Their insides, pearl white and picked clean of flesh, flicker against the dark riverbed like a beacon, alerting the world above to a problem below.

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

Mr.TinDC / Creative Commons

AAA Northeast is warning drivers to watch out for deer.  

November is a particularly bad time for deer strikes because fall is mating season for white-tailed deer in New England. Also, with the end of daylight saving time, it’s often dark during the evening commute. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Morgan Bengel stood about 35 feet underground, gesturing at the cold, rocky walls inside Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine. Late 18th-century descriptions of this subterranean penitentiary were bleak.

“Some of the words are, hell, a dungeon, woeful mansion,” Bengel said. 

Tracking Connecticut's Bobcats

Oct 11, 2019
Lydia Brown / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s a lethal hunter, marked by its tufted ears and focused gaze. It's a breathtaking sight, if you’re lucky enough to see one.

This hour: the bobcat.

This stealthy species has made a comeback in recent years. We talk to researchers who are working to better understand Connecticut’s only wild feline. 

A year after a young man was killed by a shark off Cape Cod — the first such death there in more than 80 years — beach towns full of vacationers are struggling to manage an influx of great whites.

Sharks off the coast have become more common in recent years as the seal population they hunt has increased. Scientists point out that sharks do not target humans, though they can mistake them for prey. But many officials believed the attack was only a matter of time.

Where have all the wild orchids gone?

A recent study finds that about one quarter of native New England wildflower species have been lost in the last 150 years. This means that purple-fringed orchids and pink lady slippers — once abundant in the region — are disappearing from some areas, often replaced by non-native species. Researchers worry that this loss of biodiversity may harm local ecosystems.

Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.

For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.

"This will really be a breakthrough experiment," says Ruth Mueller, an entomologist who runs the lab. "It's a historic moment."

Kraken The Code... Of Squid

Feb 14, 2019
Sarah McAnulty

Have you ever looked closely at a squid? No, the calamari on your plate doesn’t count.

A live squid?

Sure, it might seem to have come from the pages of a science fiction novel. But squid are far from fictional. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Inside a lab in northwest Connecticut is a bobcat. Its bright eyes and black-tufted ears are separated from me only by the metal grill of a large carrier. She’s sleepy, but waking up.

Embrace Your Inner Naturalist

Jan 18, 2019
Matthew Messina / www.matturalist.com

With each new year come the same old resolutions. Go on a diet. Join a gym... But what if this year, we vowed to try something different? Unplug from technology. Spend more time in nature.

This hour, we consider ways to become better connected to the natural world.

Kraken The Code... Of Squid

Jan 4, 2019
Sarah McAnulty

Have you ever looked closely at a squid? No, the calamari on your plate doesn’t count.

A live squid?

Sure, it might seem to have come from the pages of a science fiction novel. But squid are far from fictional. 

Zoo Fanatic / Creative Commons

It's been easy to overlook Trump Administration environmental policies that are contributing to the destruction of wildlife and habitats.

Matthew Messina / www.matturalist.com

With each new year come the same old resolutions. Go on a diet. Join a gym... But what if, for 2019, we vowed to try something different? Unplug from technology. Spend more time in nature.

This hour, we consider ways to become better connected to the natural world.

Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 60 percent of Connecticut is forest. But the state is also one of the most densely-populated in the country. And now, a new report says that provides unique opportunities for animals and people to co-exist.

Wikimedia Commons

Amazon’s getting billions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives from New York and Virginia to build its two East Coast headquarters. This hour: has corporate welfare become the standard?

Ed Dunens / Flickr

As President Trump talks about draining the swamp in Washington D.C., we turn our attention to actual swamps. Associated with death and decay, while also celebrated for their beauty and biodiversity, few landscapes evoke such contradictory sentiments as swamps.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, we take you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Monrovia Nursery Company in Granby, Connecticut.

We meet up with self-proclaimed 'plant geek' and Connecticut Garden Journal host Charlie Nardozzi, and get a lesson on the company's history and cultivation techniques.

A Nature Conservancy project in northern Vermont will store carbon to meet California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The group says proceeds from the sale of these “carbon credits” will pay for future land protection projects.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, we take you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Monrovia Nursery Company in Granby, Connecticut.

We meet up with self-proclaimed 'plant geek' and Connecticut Garden Journal host Charlie Nardozzi, and get a lesson on the company's history and cultivation techniques.

Later, we listen back to our interview with Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe, co-authors of the book Native Plants for New England Gardens.

We discuss tips and tricks for native plant gardening, and take your comments and questions. 

Betsy Kaplan / WNPR

In 1955, Connecticut experienced catastrophic flooding that killed more than eighty people. Two back-to-back hurricanes  - Connie and Diane - dropped over two feet of rain across Connecticut. The rains overwhelmed the Naugatuck, Farmington, and Quinebaug Rivers and their tributaries too quickly for many to escape its wrath. After the flood, Connecticut enacted flood control measures that led to several new dams. 

liz west / Creative Commons

What do goldenrod, milkweed, and wild bergamot have in common? All are plants that are native to the New England region.

This hour, we talk about the beauty and value of native plant gardening with Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe, co-authors the new book Native Plants for New England Gardens.

What native plants are best suited for your backyard plot or porch pots? We take your questions.

Plus: sowing in the city. A Connecticut garden expert shares her tips for successful urban planting. 

Ed Dunens / Flickr

As President Trump talks about draining the swamp in Washington D.C., we turn our attention to actual swamps. Associated with death and decay, while also celebrated for their beauty and biodiversity, few landscapes evoke such contradictory sentiments as swamps.

liz west / Creative Commons

What do goldenrod, milkweed, and wild bergamot have in common? All are plants that are native to the New England region.

This hour, we talk about the beauty and value of native plant gardening with Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe, co-authors the new book Native Plants for New England Gardens.

What native plants are best suited for your backyard plot or porch pots? We take your questions.

Plus: sowing in the city. A Connecticut garden expert shares her tips for successful urban planting. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Long Island Sound has a new guardian of sorts. Earlier this year, biologist Bill Lucey was named soundkeeper of the Northeast estuary.

This hour, the Connecticut native stops by our studios.

We learn more about his role and talk about efforts to improve life in and around the Sound.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

At twilight in late fall, thousands of crows take wing above highways running through Hartford. These crow “commuters” are headed home to roost, but where, exactly, do they go?

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