Wild About Utah

Wild About Utah is a weekly nature series produced by Utah Public Radio in cooperation with Stokes Nature Center, Bridgerland Audubon Society, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Cache Valley Wildlife Association, Utah State University and Utah Master Naturalist Program - USU Extension. More about Wild About Utah can be found here.

Utah is a state endowed with many natural wonders from red rock formations to salt flats. And from desert wetlands to columns of mountains forming the basin and range region. When we look closer, nature is everywhere including just outside our door.

Hear the wonders of Utah: plants, animals, geologic formations; ancient, present; terrestrial, avian and aquatic. Brought to you by the Bridgerland Audubon Society. 

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Wild About Utah: Common Starling

Jan 19, 2021
Starling Murmuration Courtesy Wikimedia and Copyright Walter Baxter Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

It all began so innocently. Let’s bring over a few European starlings to add authenticity for a Shakespearean theatrical. That was 1890. Today, North America has about half of the world population of starlings, approaching a few hundred million. 

Courtesy of Roslynn Brain McCann

Dr. Roslynn McCann is a mom, environmentalist, outdoor adventurer, and Associate Professor in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University.

Photo Courtesy & © Roslynn Brain McCann, Photographer

Before installing our permaculture gardens at Utah State University, Moab, the only birds I observed from my office window were Eurasian Collared Doves and crows. 

Pixabay

The fresh morning snow teaches me things I didn’t know, and reminds me of that which I had forgotten after a long year living once more with dark, firm soil.

 

Wild About Utah: Petrified

Jan 6, 2021
Courtesy of Shannon Rhodes

“Charlie climbed onto the bed and tried to calm the three old people who were still petrified with fear. ‘Please don't be frightened,’ he said. ‘It's quite safe. And we're going to the most wonderful place in the world!’

Wild About Utah: Juncos

Dec 22, 2020
Courtesy and copyright 2008 Ryan P. O’Donnell, Photographer

I first became aware of dark eyed juncos while doing fieldwork for the USFS in Montana. My young children discovered an active nest on the ground near a mountain stream. This was before my birding days. It occurred to me this was a strange place for a small, sparrow sized bird to build a nest, giving predators the advantage. Yet they flourish, and are among the most common and prolific songbirds in North America.

Monarch Butterflies On 'Wild About Utah'

Dec 14, 2020
Amanda Barth

I have always been fascinated by insects, and even as a young child I felt a deep sympathy for these misunderstood creatures. Before I had vocabulary to describe the revolving diversity I witnessed as a kid, I recall a sense of nostalgia for the moths, cicadas, bees, and butterflies who appeared in great numbers and animated various plant types around my city. Their ebbs and flows offered clues and added nuance to the flowers, trees, and a change in the weather. When I was young they seemed like part of the changing seasons, reliable and abundant, but I came to recognize how delicate and precarious their existence is, and the consequences of their decline.

Wild About Utah: The Christmas Bird Count

Dec 8, 2020
 Evening Grosbeak
Courtesy US FWS George Gentry, Photographer

  

My boots crunch loudly on the snow and we pause frequently to uncover a bundled-up ear from hats and hoods to listen. We are listening for birds like the high-pitched call of a cedar waxwing, clear trilling song of a ruby-crowned kinglet, or the incessant sounds of the red-breasted nut-hatch.

Wild About Utah: Karst Topography

Nov 23, 2020
Josh Boling

Rivers run beneath these hills, carving winding caverns through ancient stone, plumbing a subterranean watershed—a second topography, ever changing. What little we’ve seen must lead further in, places mythology might only describe.

I Love Snow On 'Wild About Utah'

Nov 17, 2020
Courtesy NOAA, Mark Stacey, Photographer


I love snow! It began when I was old enough to know the difference, and has continued since. We kids always celebrated the first snow of the year at our home in northern Wisconsin.

Wild About Utah: Dark Sky Places

Nov 9, 2020
Pixabay.com

Chances are that if you step outside your front door at night and look up, you can get a pretty good view of the night sky. Even if you live in a bigger city or town, a short journey by car, bike, or foot can usually get you to some amazing stargazing places. And that’s because you live in a wonderfully wild place called Utah.

Wild About Utah: How To Create A Bird Friendly Yard

Nov 9, 2020
pixabay.com

Growing up in Smithfield Canyon in northern Utah, I heard birds singing every day. We had the incredible luxury of having a variety of native plants and trees in our yard and the yards of our neighbors. The natural landscape of the canyon makes every yard bird friendly!

Wild About Utah: The Eastern Shore Of Bear Lake

Oct 27, 2020
Patrick Kelley

The Eastern shore of Bear Lake is a quiet place.

A beaver swims through the water.
NPS J. Schmidt

When I first saw a beaver in Cache Valley I thought I'd seen an alligator. I was sitting in the front of a canoe when a large head shot past the bow followed by a black tail that flew into the air and came down on the water with a resounding slap.

Wild About Utah: Native Grasses

Oct 6, 2020

In recent years, there has been an emphasis on ornamental landscape plants that provide bee and butterfly habitat. But did you know that you can also choose landscape plants to support Utah birds and other wildlife? In particular, ornamental grasses can provide both food and cover for birds and other wildlife and also materials for nest building. 

Wild About Utah: Greetings Puny Earthlings

Sep 30, 2020
Rob Soto

What does it mean to speak and not simply talk? Does it mean you croak back with ravens? Or does it mean that ravens croak back with you?

Wild About Utah: Greetings Puny Earthlings

Sep 30, 2020
Rob Soto

What does it mean to speak and not simply talk? Does it mean you croak back with ravens? Or does it mean that ravens croak back with you?

Wild About Utah: Night Music

Sep 16, 2020
A red Katydid on a green and yellow plant
https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/7982/rec/1

It gives me great pleasure to take a moonlight walk on these warm summer nights, serenaded by a gazillion insect musicians. Pulsing in unison with a background of cricket chirps, it reminds me that summer is waning and I must enjoy what remains!

'The Utah Firefly' on Wild About Utah

Sep 9, 2020
Flickr - Mike Lewinski

A lot of people are surprised to know that we have fireflies in Utah, but we actually have them in 20 of the 29 counties, that we’ve discovered so far.  People are often surprised that they’re here, and they think that they’ve just arrived but they haven’t. 

Wild About Utah: I Notice, I Wonder

Aug 31, 2020
Shannon Rhodes

Allow me to share an excerpt from my nature journal. 

“July 5, 2020. 6:10 p.m. We are perched on the east side of Buck Ridge, racing the sun’s western descent as we conclude a day on Utah’s Skyline Drive. He is drawn to the bull elk in the meadow below the ivory cliff’s edge. I can’t pull myself away from the purple cones. Not brown, not gray, but vibrant violet cones stretching straight upward. How have I missed noticing these before? I wonder what purpose such a hue serves.” 

Patrick Kelly

 

There’s a place I like to walk when I don’t know where else to go, up a fork in the Cache National Forest. 

Wild About Utah: Brand New Eyes

Aug 19, 2020
pixabay.com

At 16 days old, our little girl ventured into the mountains for the first time. In the high country, below a cathedral of jagged limestone peaks, we found a stroller-wide path far enough from the other summer-goers to make us feel as though we’d arrived somewhere new. 

Cloud Creation on Wild About Utah

Aug 11, 2020
Jane Hartman, NOAA


I’m caught in an epic electrical storm in a deep gorge in Montana’s Bear Tooth range. Lightning flashes instantly deliver ground-shaking thunderclaps crashing and booming off thousand-foot granite walls. A battleground of the wildest kind! Plunging waterfalls absorb sound energy mimicking an avalanche of boulders. I’m immersed in electrical aura!

NPS/ZACH SCHIERL

If visitors find locations in Utah’s National Parks, where very little man-made sounds are heard, it can be a breathtaking experience.  A park visitor may canoe along riparian habitat and hear a variety of bird calls, or hike a trail and come around a bend to see a few deer jump over the sage-brush.

In The Eyes Of A Bear On Wild About Utah

Jul 31, 2020
Patrick Kelly


We call him Old Ephraim up here in Cache Valley. He’s a tale known by just about everyone: one of the last brown bears in Utah, shot and killed by Frank Clark, in August of 1923.

Mary Heers

 

I first caught sight of the eight pelicans swimming in a straight line towards the water’s edge, looking a lot like a tank division in an old WWII movie. I slammed on the brakes just in time to see them all dip their bills into the water, come up spilling water and cock their heads back and then, gulp! Fish slid down their throats.

Sego Lillies

Jul 14, 2020


With pioneer Day’s a few weeks away, it’s time to honor a very special plant that saved many Utah pioneers.

 

Beaver In Utah’s Desert Rivers

Jul 7, 2020
Emma Doden

 

The Price and San Rafael rivers flow through some of Utah’s driest areas. Both are tributaries of the Green River. These rivers are essential to sustain the wildlife, riparian vegetation, native and endangered fish populations, and livestock that live in Utah’s eastern desert.

Beavers, native to both rivers, have far-reaching impacts on these waterways because of their ability to build dams that hold the water on the arid landscape – they are nature’s aquatic engineers. 

A Moral Dilemma

Jun 29, 2020
Rob Soto

I had a moral dilemma.

 

I was driving home from work on a small back road as I usually do to avoid traffic. As I was heading north, two juvenile robins swooped down across the road, as they normally do, in the path of an oncoming red truck. The first robin managed to cut upwards fast enough to dodge the truck’s hood, but the second broadsided the truck, hitting its door, and fell to the ground crumpled.

Wild About Nature Journaling

Jun 22, 2020
Shannon Rhodes

 

As a youth living minutes from the canyons east of Salt Lake City, I spent many Saturdays with my father carrying a backpack with sandwiches and his worn field guide to North American mushrooms.

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