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It's a Great Time to See Wildlife - Learn Where and How to Watch
With Guest: David Mizejewski, Naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation
and author of "Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife."

Original Air Date: 10-02-2009

See a video of David's "How to Wildlife Watch" and one about Sandhill Crane Migration,
on Talkzone.com's Wild About Pets Show, homepage.

Listen to the show

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During the fall season, many animals are on the move relocating to warmer climates. During today's episode we will hear David Mizejewski, from the National Wildlife Federation tell us how it is the perfect time to "get out there" and see some wildlife as they migrate. The above birds are sandhill cranes, a remarkable sight and sound when tens or hundreds or thousands fly overhead.

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A map divided into the four regions showing the Migratory Bird's Flyways within the United States.
(photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

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Many birds migrate southward during the fall. They can include many colorful songbirds. One such bird from the Pacific Flyway is the lazuli bunting.

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Another bird from the Pacific Flyway that travels, is this Bullock's oriole.

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From the Central Flyway, comes the scarlet tanager.

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Raptors, such as this arctic peregrine falcon also migrate. They average flying approximately 10,000 miles to get to a warmer climate. This raptor travels the Central Flyway.
(photo courtesy of Steve Maslowski, USFWS)

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Also from the Central Flyway, is the highly endangered Whooping Crane.

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Look how big they are. In this photo a whooping crane chick (probably orphaned) is being fed by it's disquised "surrogate" mother so that it will not bond to humans. The hoped outcome would be release back into the wild.

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A close up profile of a sandhill crane. This bird travels the Mississippi Flyway.

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Sandhill cranes have very long wingspans from 6-8 feet wide. 450,000 of these birds may stopover at the Platte River, on the edge of Nebraska's sandhills, each year as they migrate.

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A male ruby-throated hummingbird in flight. (Atlantic Flyway)

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A great blue heron of the Florida Gulf Coast beach. (Atlantic Flyway)

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Many of you in the Midwest remember when Canadian Geese always seemed to migrate. What changed? These geese are perfectly content swimming in a man made pond with a water fountain in the background.

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Silhouette of Canadian Geese migrating. (Atlantic Flyway)

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You may not like all the goose droppings you find when they are around, but you've got to admit, baby goslings are very cute.

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Some large North American mammals migrate in order to have a plentiful supply of food. This is a caribou in the Denali National Park in Alaska.

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Curious Caribou.

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Did you know that the reindeer that are known to have pulled Santa Claus's sleigh are caribou? Caribou is the name used for wild, North American reindeer.

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This is a Mexican free-tailed bat. They give birth to their babies and spend the summers in the United States but when the weather becomes cooler in the fall, they migrate back to Mexico.
(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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Emergence of Mexican free-tailed bats on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas at dusk. This bridge is currently home to the world's largest urban bat colony. Some 750,00 to 1. 5 million bats summer in Austin and winter in Mexico. The movement of these bats attracts 100,000 tourists annually.
(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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A grey whale breaching, at Guerrero Negro, Baja, California, Mexico.

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The most famous of insects that migrates, monarch butterflies.

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Monarch Butterflies wintering in Santa Cruz, California
(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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A Pronghorn antelope (also one of the large migrating mammals) spots an intruder attempting to sneak up on the herd. Animals are the best wildlife watchers there are. They must be for their survival. One of the keys for us to spot wildlife, is not to expect the whole animal to appear before you. Look for parts of animals, such as the curved ears of this antelope that stand out against the straight lines of the grasses.

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Notice how a red-throated Loon's light colored beak makes a strong horizontal line against the vertical shafts of the tall green grasses. By starting to look for parts of an animal, it becomes easier to locate the whole creature.

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David Mizejewski's book that tells you how to garden in a way that will attract desirable wildlife to your own backyard.
(photo courtesy of Creative Homeowner)


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David Mizejewski is a spokesperson and media personality with National Wildlife Federation.  A lifelong naturalist, he holds a degree in Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University.  He is an expert on wildlife, our environment and green lifestyles. David is using his knowledge and his infectious enthusiasm to help others understand the wonders of the natural world and how to live sustainably. 

David hosted and co-produced the series Backyard Habitat on Animal Planet and appeared in the mini-series Springwatch U.S.A.  He is a regular guest on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show and Good Morning America and has appeared on HGTV, Planet Green, Sundance Channel, and CNN.   David does numerous radio appearances annually and has been featured on NPR, XM Sirius Radio and dozens of major market radio stations in programming running the gamut from morning commute shows to evening news to weekend talk formats. He has been interviewed and profiled in many print publications, including Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, The New York Times, U.S.A Today, The Washington Post, and countless local newspapers. 

David is the author of Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife, published in 2004 by Creative Homeowner and winner of the 2005 Publisher’s Marketing Association Benjamin Franklin Award. He is also a contributor to Gardening How-To magazine and writes a blog called Animal Oddities for Animal Planet. 

National Wildlife Federation's "Be Out There" Website

NWF "Wildlife Watch" Website

David Mizejewski's Facebook Page

Additional Resources

Here is a great website about Monarch Butterflies and their migration. Teachers you will especially like this one.

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