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News stories tagged with "nature"

An unusual visitor on the 2008 bird count: a leucistic black-capped Chickadee. Photo: Larry Master
An unusual visitor on the 2008 bird count: a leucistic black-capped Chickadee. Photo: Larry Master

Birders around the globe flock to annual count

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) Birders around the globe will tally up sightings this weekend in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada.

Participants count birds in their backyards or other chosen location for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, which runs from Friday through Monday.  Go to full article
Erika Edgley ice skating on Lower Cascade Lake. Archive Photo of the Day: Matthew Hobart
Erika Edgley ice skating on Lower Cascade Lake. Archive Photo of the Day: Matthew Hobart

Natural Selections: Ice over time

Fresh ice, sometimes called black ice, can be nice and clear and great for skating, but after a while ice gets kind of funky. Freezes and thaws and snowfalls take their toll on ice, creating white ice, which contains a lot of trapped air and gases. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about how the ice evolves over the season.  Go to full article
Antarctica as seen by the Earth Observatory mission. Photo: <a href="http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/36000/36839/Antarctica_AMO_2009027_lrg.jpg">NASA</a>
Antarctica as seen by the Earth Observatory mission. Photo: NASA

Natural Selections: The other Polar Vortex

While much of this winter's extreme weather has been blamed on polar vortex weather systems reaching farther south into North America, there is a another polar vortex in the Antarctic.

Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about the weather at the bottom of the world, and how it differs from weather patterns at the top of the world.  Go to full article
Flappy the muskie, 54 inches. She swam happily away after being caught and released last November near 40 Acres Shoal off Grindstone Island. The fishermen: Leo Greene (age 8, 52 inches), and guide Mackie Hodges in the <em>Tinker Toy</em>, owned by Richy Glassberg. Photo: Andy Greene
Flappy the muskie, 54 inches. She swam happily away after being caught and released last November near 40 Acres Shoal off Grindstone Island. The fishermen: Leo Greene (age 8, 52 inches), and guide Mackie Hodges in the Tinker Toy, owned by Richy Glassberg. Photo: Andy Greene

Natural Selections: Muskies, Part 2

The muskellunge, or muskie, is a popular fighting fish found in Northern waters--and so is its cousin, the Northern Pike.

Martha Foley and Paul SMiths College naturalist Dr. Curt Stager continue their discussion about primitive fresh water predators.  Go to full article
A polar vortex centered over Maine, 1/21/85. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polarvortexjan211985.jpg">National Meteorological Center</a>, Camp Springs, MD
A polar vortex centered over Maine, 1/21/85. Photo: National Meteorological Center, Camp Springs, MD

Natural Selections: Polar vortex

The meteorological term "polar vortex" has a dramatic and ominous sound--the title of a disaster movie, maybe. But it is a just pattern of winds that is with us all the time and played a big role in recent deep cold snaps. They occur when the southern edge of this weather system pushes farther south than usual. Martha Foley and Curt Stager take a little of the hype out of this winter's weather buzz-word.  Go to full article
Birders flocked to get good views of rare ducks on Lake Champlain last year. Photo: Larry Master
Birders flocked to get good views of rare ducks on Lake Champlain last year. Photo: Larry Master

Bird watchers prepare for annual backyard tally

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) Organizers of the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count say they expect bird watchers from more than 100 countries to participate in this year's event, Feb. 14-17.

The event is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partnership from Bird Studies Canada. Anyone in the world can participate by counting birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and recording sightings at www.BirdCount.org.  Go to full article
Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Esox_masquinongyeditcrop.jpg">Eric Engbretson</a>, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Photo: Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Natural Selections: Muskies, Part 1

The muskellunge, or muskie, is a popular fighting fish found in Northern waters.

Martha Foley and Paul Smiths College naturalist Dr. Curt Stager talk about this primitive fresh water predator.  Go to full article
Myxobacteria detect surrounding cells in a process known as quorum sensing, migrate toward each other, and aggregate to form fruiting bodies up to 500 micrometres long. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Myxococcus_xanthus.png">Ayacop</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Myxobacteria detect surrounding cells in a process known as quorum sensing, migrate toward each other, and aggregate to form fruiting bodies up to 500 micrometres long. Photo: Ayacop, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Bacterial "quorums"

Bacteria have an awareness of when they are part of a large population, and change their behavior as a result. In the sea, bioluminescence is governed by this phenomena, known as "quorum-sensing." In the body, it may trigger the disease-causing effects of large infections. Martha Foley and Curt Stager get together with microbial crowds.  Go to full article
Algonquin Park Wolves. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdbsound/3968088234/">JDB Photos</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Algonquin Park Wolves. Photo: JDB Photos, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Howling for wolves

During the holidays we're listening back to some of our favorite stories from 2013. This morning we go back to late summer, and up to Algonquin Provincial Park, where for the past fifty years, people from all around the world have made the journey to hear wolves howl. The Eastern Timber Wolf lived across the eastern United States before humans virtually erased it from the landscape. But in some parts of Canada, the Eastern Wolf is alive and well. Reporter Natasha Haverty sent this postcard.

(Note: While August is the best time to hear wolves at the park, the rangers told us that now is the best time to see them, when the trees are bare and the contrast in the landscape is stronger.)  Go to full article
Nighttime in Algonquin Park. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/64894594@N08/7046599793">abuakel</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Nighttime in Algonquin Park. Photo: abuakel, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Listen: Wolf howl sound check

You just heard a public wolf howl at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. But that event can only take place if park naturalists actually hear wolves the night before, during what they call a "sound check."

So on the night before the "public howl", teams of naturalists spread through the park, scouting the area and keeping in touch by handheld radio. It was past ten in the evening. The August night was clear and still, and the sky dripped with meteors. That's today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article

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