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Nature nerds rejoice! The Field Guides is a monthly podcast that will bring you out on the trail, focusing on the science of our North American wildlife.

Nature nerds rejoice! The Field Guides is a monthly podcast that will bring you out on the trail, focusing on the science of our North American wildlife.
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Nature nerds rejoice! The Field Guides is a monthly podcast that will bring you out on the trail, focusing on the science of our North American wildlife.




Ep. 31 - Magic Cicadas

Nearly every year, somewhere in the eastern US, a brood of periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) emerges for the first time in 13 or 17 years. Each brood contains millions of individuals and it's probably one of the most spectacular displays that you would be lucky enough to experience. Before the episode, Steve and Bill traveled to Syracuse to see the tail end of Brood VII at a property owned by the Griffin Hill Farm Brewery. They recount that experience, explore the biology of cicadas,...


Bonus 07 - Wild Ideas...The Podcast (Feat. Gordon Maupin)

During this bonus episode, Bill interviews Gordon Maupin, former director of the Wilderness Center in northeastern Ohio and, along with Joann Ballbach and Gary Popotnik, the former host of "Wild Ideas...The Podcast". "Wild Ideas" was (and is) an excellent resource for information on natural history and it was a strong influence on our decision to start our own podcast after it ended in November 2014- less than a year before we released the first episode of The Field Guides. Enjoy the...


Ep. 30 - Have You Seen the Light?: Foxfire and Bioluminescent Fungi

Have you seen the light? This month, the guys take their first foray into the world of fungi, specifically bioluminescent fungi! Although fireflies and other glowing critters have been well researched, fungi that glow are not nearly as well understood. Often referred to as "foxfire" or "fairy fire", their glow was first documented way back in ancient times, but researchers are still figuring out what it's all about. Join Bill and Steve as they shed some light on the latest research into...


Ep. 29 - Jack-in-the-Pulpit, AKA George-Michael-in-the-Banana-Stand

This is the story of two guys who enter the woods looking for Arisaema triphyllum, the graceful woodland wildflower known to many as Jack-in-the-pulpit. Not only is it beautiful to behold, but this member of the Arum family has a fascinating natural history; it can switch its sex, fool midge flies, and cause botanists to have heated debates about subspecies. During the episode, Steve makes a contribution to botanical history by coming up with the best alternative common name Bill has ever...


Ep. 28 - Spring Ephemerals: The Spotted Salamander

The great salamander migration has begun! ...and ended... Every spring there is a small window of time when adult spotted salamanders emerge from their subterranean homes and mate in nearby seasonal wetlands. Bill, Steve, Rich, and Donna venture out to find these elusive critters. The first half of the episode takes place at Beaver Meadow Audubon center and is recorded in the typical style (...we see one salamander). The second half takes place at Donna's property and is much more...


Ep. 27 - Spring Ephemerals: Skunk Cabbage

It's not a skunk... and it's not a cabbage... This month, Steve and Bill discuss Skunk Cabbage. The guys go over the spathe, spadix, contractile roots, and thermogenesis, among other things. We also pose maybe too many questions to our audience: 1. Is Skunk Cabbage a clonal species? 2. Can Skunk Cabbage have multiple inflorescences? 3. Do warblers nest in Skunk Cabbage spathes? 4. Does Skunk Cabbage heat up to to promote cross pollination? Enjoy (and help us answer these questions)!


Bonus 06 - Spring Ephemerals: Coltsfoot

Today we begin the first of many future episodes about spring ephemeral wildflowers. During this episode, Steve and Bill talk about Coltsfoot's adaptations, life cycle, use as a cooking spice, and toxicity. Unfortunately, the guys never figure out what the species name, farfara, means... if you know, share the love. Enjoy!


Ep. 26 - Don't Hassle Me, I'm Local: Ecological Restoration and Local Ecotypes

Can one specimen of a native plant be more "native" than another? For those ecologists who are working to restore damaged ecosystems, whether or not they should use local ecotypes is an important question to consider. In this episode, Bill and Steve hit the road to visit Sonnenberg Gardens and the NYS Parks staff working to help restore ecosystems with an emphasis on natives and local ecotypes.


Ep. 25 - The Eastern Screech-owl

Steve and Bill start off 2018 with an episode about Eastern Screech-owls. The guys talk about the Eastern Screech-owl's dichromatism, adaptations for hunting at night, and even call one in during the podcast. Make sure to wear headphones for this one- the birds calling in the distance aren't always easy to hear. Steve also gets really nervous about being killed by a bobcat for some reason... Enjoy!


Ep. 24 - The Flying* Squirrel

*it doesn't actually fly. Steve and Bill wrap up 2017 with an episode about Flying Squirrels. They talk about their adaptations for gliding, evolutionary history, and baculum morphology. They also talk about the new species that was discovered earlier this year. Enjoy!


Bonus 05 - The Urban Cooper's Hawk Podcast

We hope you're ready for a bonus episode all about Cooper's Hawks in cities. We teamed up with The Urban Wildlife Podcast for this episode's topic, so make sure that you go check them out. We also announce an artsy relationship with Always Wondering Art, as well as a tasty relationship with Boxerbar Energy Bars. You should go show them all some support. We hope you enjoy the episode!


Ep. 23 - The HWA (Hemlock Woolly Adelgid)

This episode is all about the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA)! Steve and Bill explain this insect's history, biology, and it's negative effects on Eastern and Carolina Hemlock. The guys dive into what damage has already been done, what damage is still projected to happen, and what we're currently doing to stop the spread of this destructive asian hemipteran! We hope you enjoy!


Bonus 04 - The Eastern Hemlock

Eastern Hemlocks are a staple of northeastern US forests. During this bonus episode, Steve and Bill make some tea and dive into what makes this tree so special. Historically, Hemlock has experienced 3 major declines, with the most recent happening right now. The culprit is an introduced hemipteran from Asia. Later this month, the guys will release a regular episode on that insect. But for now, enjoy this primer for episode 23!


Ep. 22 - Acorns and Corvids are MFEO (Made For Each Other)

This episode is nuts! Like peanut butter and jelly, Blue Jays and oak trees go together - they have a fascinating relationship that plays out in our forests every fall. Jays (and many of their corvid relatives) collect boatloads of acorns and engage in a caching behavior called scatter hoarding. The extent to which oaks have evolved to rely on this behavior is startling, and in this episode, Bill and Steve (he's back!) pull back the curtain on the fascinating world of acorns and corvids,...


Bonus 03 - Ticks & Tick-borne Diseases (feat. Dr. Wayne Gall)

What's better than a regular episode about ticks? That's right, a bonus episode featuring someone who actually spent their career as an entomologist specifically studying ticks. Enter entomologist, Dr. Wayne Gall. The first half of this episode follows Steve and Wayne sampling for ticks at Stiglmeier Park in Cheektowaga, NY. The second half takes place at the Julia Boyer Reinstein Library where Wayne dives into more detail about his work in Western New York. This episode was recorded in...


Ep. 21 - A Pain in the Grass: Restoring Grassland Bird Habitat

Grasslands birds and the habitats they depend on are some of the most threatened components of our North American landscape. But take heart! Because people like this month's guest co-host, Kyle Webster, are working to restore and maintain grasslands for the birds (and other organisms) that require them. As a member of New York State Park's environmental field team, Kyle works to use the latest research to understand and improve the management of these critical habitats. Join Bill and Kyle...


Ep. 20 - Get the Buck Out!

So, how do you feel about deer? Over the past 100 years, populations of the White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have gone from scarce to ubiquitous. There’s a significant body of research pointing to the detrimental impacts of deer overbrowsing on our forests. Here at The Field Guides, we don’t like to exclude anyone, but we are interested in learning about deer exclosures – structures designed to keep these plentiful herbivores out of an area. Usually they are placed to allow for...


Ep. 19 - Ticks Suck The Big One

This episode is all about ticks! Bill and Steve describe the difference between Ixodidae (hard ticks), Argasidae (soft ticks), and Nuttalliellidae (a single extant African species with ancestral tick traits). They also discuss the right way to remove a tick, Lyme disease, and how ticks may be partly responsible for humans being “naked apes.” We hope you enjoy!


Ep. 18 - Sap! Nature's Junk Food

During this episode, Steve talks about EVERY SINGLE extant non-human animal that drinks xylem or phloem sap. Join the guys as they explore the paradox of phloem sap, the barriers to eating it, how squirrels tap maple trees, hemipterans (true bugs), yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and much, much more. This episode stands alone, but we highly recommend listening to episode 17, "The Sappiest Podcast Ever..." either before or after this one. Either way, we hope you enjoy the episode!


Ep. 17 - The Sappiest Podcast Ever...

During this episode, Bill and Steve talk about nature's junk food - sap! Join the guys as they cover how sap moves through Maple trees, as well as how climate change will affect Maples and the sap collecting season. They also interview two volunteers at the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center about turning Maple sap into syrup, cream, and sugar. Enjoy the episode!