Field Notes

Sunday 12:55 PM, Tuesdays and Fridays at 4:54 PM

For keen observers, a walk to the grocery store or a hike up a mountain can inspire questions. Where do magpies nest?  Why doesn’t a spider stick to its own web? How do water striders keep from sinking?  Every week since 1992, Field Notes has inquired about Montana's  natural history. Produced by the Montana Natural History Center, Field Notes are written by naturalists, students and listeners about the puzzle-tree bark, eagle talons, woolly aphids and giant puffballs of Western, Central and Southwestern Montana.

Interested in writing a Field Note? Contact Allison De Jong, Field Notes editor, at adejong [at] montananaturalist.org or (406) 327-0405.

Marat Roytman

"Fieldnotes," September 8th & 9th, 2013: "Mallard Sleep," written by Kassy Holzheimer, read by Nicole Schegg.  http://www.montananaturalist.org/

"Although technically, the mallard is sleeping, one side of its brain remains active throughout the night. The open eye usually points towards potentially dangerous directions, and when it recognizes a danger, the mallard becomes fully awake quickly and can usually escape."

Mosses: Sponges of the Air

Aug 29, 2013

"Fieldnotes," September 1st & 2nd, 2013: "Moss," by Erica Wetter.  http://www.montananaturalist.org/

"My eyes alighted on a spectacular patch of jade green smack-dab in the middle of the sandy-colored rocks: moss. I leaned close and the fresh aroma of moist springtime soil rose up to meet me. It was like diving into a lake on a steamy summer night. The moss was like a miniature paradise, with waterfalls spilling down into tiny green valleys."

A Spin on Sex Roles: Wilson's Phalarope

Aug 23, 2013
Dominic Sherony

"Fieldnotes," August 25th & 26th, 2013: "Wilson's Phalarope," by Nicole Schegg.  http://www.montananaturalist.org/

"Wilson's Phalaropes are the exception to the rule in the bird rule, because the typical sex roles are reversed. These birds are polyandrous, which means that the female mates with several males. The females are more boldly patterned than the males. The females chase the males, display courting behavior, and the  male is responsible for incubating the eggs."

Nature's Ecosystem Engineers: Beavers

Aug 16, 2013

"Fieldnotes," August 18th & 19th, 2013: "Beaver Dams," by Elizabeth Ann Straub.  http://www.montananaturalist.org/

Huckleberry Time

Aug 9, 2013

http://www.montananaturalist.org/

"The fruit is the easiest way to tell huckleberries from unrelated plants. However, if no fruit is showing, the leaves and stems are where to look. Huckleberry leaves are always alternating along the stems, unlike many look-alike plants that have opposing leaf patterns. Huckleberry leaves are broad and lance-shaped, and their stems make a zig-zag pattern. They grow mostly on mountain slopes, at medium to high elevations."

Order in the Turkey Roost

Aug 2, 2013
The National Wild Turkey Federation

"Fieldnotes," August 4th & 5th, 2013: "Wild Turkey Hierarchy," by Jim Giese (read by Allison de Jong).  http://www.montananaturalist.org/

What can turn tree sap into...honeydew?

Jul 26, 2013
Dmitri Don

"Fieldnotes," July 28th & 29, 2013: "Aphids," by John McCutcheon (read by Allison de Jong).  http://www.montananaturalist.org/

Mistaken Identity: Gopher Snakes

Jul 18, 2013
Julia Larson

"Fieldnotes," July 21st & 22nd, 2013: "Gopher Snakes," by Tim Giese (read by Allison de Jong).  http://www.montananaturalist.org/

"The holler of "Rattlesnake!" from the rear of the line snapped each of us from our contemplative walk. After a closer look, I recognized its true identity: a gopher snake - Montana's largest and perhaps most ubiquitous snake."

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