20 episodes

Nature notes and inquiry from the Montana Natural History Center.

Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center Montana Public Radio

    • Natural Sciences

Nature notes and inquiry from the Montana Natural History Center.

    How To Eat Lunch, Not Be Lunch: Safety In Numbers

    How To Eat Lunch, Not Be Lunch: Safety In Numbers

    Horses, bighorn sheep and mule deer all coming together in the same place, using the same trails. What is so special about this place? This little patch of ground, where trails converge, is where the need to avoid predators comes into balance with the need to eat.

    • 4 min
    How Unique Fur And A Nomadic Nature Help Otters Survive In Winter

    How Unique Fur And A Nomadic Nature Help Otters Survive In Winter

    What happens to otters in winter when the lake is frozen, I wondered. Does the family stay together or disperse? Do otters have any special survival strategies to get through the cold times?

    • 4 min
    How Do Ants Keep Warm In Winter?

    How Do Ants Keep Warm In Winter?

    On a recent stroll around a local bird refuge, I was struck by the appearance of a large ants’ nest, covered with a thatch of pine needles. The type of ants who construct these nests are called “mound builders,” and this particular mound was made by red wood ants. What do they do to survive the cold, I wondered?

    • 2 min
    Do Falling Snowflakes Whisper, Or Scream? Depends On Who's Listening.

    Do Falling Snowflakes Whisper, Or Scream? Depends On Who's Listening.

    Walking in a heavy snowstorm at night is one of my favorite ways to experience winter. There is something quite magical about being wrapped in the hug of falling snow. Snowflakes land delicately and melt on the tip of my nose. The trees are covered in a lacy latticework of icy crystals. The world slows down for a while and becomes quiet, save for the scrape of shovels on driveways and sidewalks, or the thwop of snow as it slides en masse from roof to yard.

    • 3 min
    'Field Notes': Meeting A Montana Loon In Mexico

    'Field Notes': Meeting A Montana Loon In Mexico

    Each week, the haunting wail of the common loon opens the Field Notes program. The loon’s cry always brings to my mind clear mountain lakes rimmed by lush coniferous forests, a handsome pair of birds in their formal black and white courting plumage calling across the quiet water.

    • 3 min
    Needle Ice: A Freeze-Frame Of Capillary Action

    Needle Ice: A Freeze-Frame Of Capillary Action

    It was midnight and dark, but when my boots made crunching noises as I walked along the dirt road, I knew what was underfoot: tiny, clustered pillars of ice lifting the top layer of soil debris from the road. Now, in the light of the morning, the ice pillars look like miniature, partially buried, delicate ice castles. I am as intrigued by them now as I was when I first noticed them a few years ago, both here by Flathead Lake and up along McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park.

    • 3 min

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