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.

    '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
    Beneath The Snow, The Subnivean Zone Bustles

    Beneath The Snow, The Subnivean Zone Bustles

    Many animals are able to survive the freezing cold temperatures of a Montana winter by making use of that place between the snow and the ground called the subnivean layer. This layer is created because snow is such a good insulator, holding in warm air heated by the earth, and keeping out cold air.

    • 4 min
    Sponges: These Aquatic Oddities Are At Home In Montana

    Sponges: These Aquatic Oddities Are At Home In Montana

    Although many people associate these stone-like animals with the crystalline waters of the tropics, several species of sponges do occur in lakes and ponds across North America, including those of western Montana.

    • 4 min
    A Portrait Of Kehi-oo-Leh, Rattlesnake Creek

    A Portrait Of Kehi-oo-Leh, Rattlesnake Creek

    I grew up in Missoula with the sound of Rattlesnake Creek pouring bedtime stories into my room, its chanting waters carrying me away to peace-filled dreams. When I was younger, my brother, our two neighbors and I used to build dams in the creek when summer warmth slowed the waters. At ages 10 and 12 we considered ourselves the best in the field, and this was reflected in our job titles: log expert, rock expert, and rescue expert.

    • 4 min
    The Bird Count Of Christmas And 'One Magpie Dancing'

    The Bird Count Of Christmas And 'One Magpie Dancing'

    Just before lunch, we pulled up to a dead end at the base of the foothills and looked out into a plowed field to see … yet another magpie. This one, though, was hopping and flashing its wings in jerks, as if trying to perform a mad waltz, so we drew up our binoculars for a closer look. We could see then that it was corralling a small rodent, a vole I guessed, as it danced from foot to foot.

    • 4 min

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