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All Things Natural with Ed Kanze  RSS Feed  Subscribe Via iTunes  Zune Subscribe
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All Things Natural, a series of nature essays written by Ed Kanze for more than a quarter century, looks at a kitchen-sink full of natural phenomenon in an inquisitive and playful spirit.

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Podcast Episode's:
The Marten Chronicles
In the beginning I saw neither hide nor hair of the animal known as the American marten. Then I found a suspicious dropping, and then I glimpsed the animal in a video in my own backyard. Still, it took years to set eyes on my first wild marten. Hear here my chronicle.
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Say G'day To Songbirds
Human music may well have been inspired by the music of birds. But where did birds get the idea? Recent research findings suggest that songbirds, also known as perching birds or passerines, trace their ancestry to the land of kangaroos.
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A Stranger On The Lawn
Life brings its humbling moments. For me, a leader of bird walks, one came recently when a sparrow turned up, and I had no idea what kind it was. What to do? I confessed my ignorance and invited my companions to peer through binoculars and join me in solving the mystery at hand.
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When Butterflies Fly Free
Spring brings the eyes a feast of color, and after a long, black-and-white winter, they're hungry for it. Some of the finest color of the season comes to us on the wings of butterflies. Listen and meet the mourning cloak, the comma, and the spring azure.
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The Day I Got A Black Eye From A Blue Crab
Have you ever injured yourself by accident, felt stupid afterward, and found yourself the brunt of jokes? I have. My story involves a crowd of kids and a very large and menacing blue crab. Hear it here.
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Bugged By Caddisflies
Believe it or not, there are common insects that build armor around themselves like turtles grow shells. As larvae they live in streams, ponds, and lakes and are known as caddisflies.
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Bluebirds Shop Around
Build a bird house for bluebirds and they will come, or not, depending on intangibles known only to the birds. In our yard in the Adirondacks we've created a virtual country club for bluebirds, yet still the birds tend to come, survey the real estate, and move on. Why? Listen and join me in wondering why.
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The Bursting of the Buds
In the Adirondacks and throughout most of eastern North America, we know spring has arrived when the red maple buds pop. Did you know that some red maples are girls and some are boys, and that you can tell the two apart from a car speeding along the highway? Here hear the details.
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The Marsupial Habit
Riddle: What makes a marsupial a marsupial? Hint: it has little or nothing to do whether the animal has a marsupium, or pouch, for carrying its young. In fact, two mammals that have pouches for carrying young are not considered marsupials. Confused? Listen and join in on the confusion.
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Buck Tooth, Pride of The Beavers
'All Things Natural' Celebrates 100th Episode! Listen here as Mr. Buck Tooth, "Rodent of the Year," accepts his honor at a meeting of the American Association of Gnawing Rodents.
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Mite Versus Right
Pets bring us joy and the pleasures of companionship. And sometimes they bring us pain. Listen to a horror story of a house---my house---invaded by hordes of hungry mites.
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Geography Of A Bird
Start looking at birds, and you have to master a whole new vocabulary of lingo. Pretty soon you'll be talking about wingbars, eye-lines, eye-rings, throat patches, rump patches, and if you're a real voyeur, crissums. To know birds, you have to get your mind around the details.
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An Ornithologist Shaken, Not Stirred
Before there was James Bond OO7 the secret agent and ladies' man, there was James Bond the distinguished ornithologist and expert on birds of the West Indians. The real Bond met the creator of the fictional Bond on the island of Jamaica, and the rest is ornithological and cinematic history.
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Great Snowy Owl
Everybody knows the bird, but most us have never seen it in the flesh: the great white owl of northern North America and Eurasia known as the snowy. Snowy owls used to be cigar salesman. Today, they gain appreciation as the most striking and massive of American owls.
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Penguins of the Southern Oceans
You don't have to be crazy to believe in the existence of Little People. They exist. We call them penguins. Join me in reminiscing about wild penguins I have known.
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Mink May Stink, But They're Fun To Watch
If you have the privilege of getting close to a mink, it'll stink. But don't let the smell scare you off. These fierce, wide-ranging members of the weasel tribe offer fine entertainment to those who watch them.
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From Dirt Comes Healing
If the history of medical science can teach us one thing, it's this. Don't underestimate dirt. From ordinary backyard soil and composted compost have some of the world's most useful wonder-drugs. Tuberculosis, a world-wide plague that killed and tormented untold millions, proved no match for the chemical weapons produced by a widespread microbe in plain old ordinary dirt.
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Animal Attitudes, It Takes All Kinds
We may be all cut from the same cloth, yet every one of us is one of a kind. The same holds for wild animals. In a given family of wild owls, robins, or raccoons, no two individuals share the same personality. Vive le difference!
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The Strange Case of the Ice Flows Cargo
Men are often drawn to women by their eyes. So it was with me as I was getting to know my wife, Debbie. In this case, there was more to it than just the color and depth I found in her luminous blue orbs. It also was what they saw.
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A Winter Walk, And Home Again
On a cold winter day, I go out, then come in. Between the start and finish lie ninety brisk minutes of exercise and illumination. Join me!
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What's It All About, Algae?
Meet Corinne Parnapy, a real live phycologist. She studies that slimy stuff, green or brown or red, that we call algae. Is it interesting? Listen and judge for yourself.
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Trees, Shrubs, and What Ails Them
Bacteria do it. Viruses do it. Even pesky little fungi do it. Make plants and people sick, that is. Listen to how it goes for plants.
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The Little Drummer Boy
Do you hear what I hear? It's late on a cold winter night. Snow lies softly over the ground, and the red stuff in the thermometer is plunging.
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Bringing Up Babies
I've raised baby possums, raccoons, skunks, robins, starlings, and great-horned owls. Which are the most cuddly and fun to be around? The answer may surprise you.
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Living With Bears
If there are bruins in the neighborhood, trouble may be brewin'. Listen and learn how to avoid it.
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Ladies And Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones!
They rock and roll them. We're talking about those boulders we all see in the woods. Geologists call them "erratics."
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Making Cannibal Jello
The gelatin that goes into Jello and similar products comes from sanitized, pulverized, boiled animal hooves. Animal hooves are largely made of keratin.
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An Owl And A Pussycat
It was all over in a thump, a hiss, and a flash of feathers. What was going on? Join me as I try to solve a life-and-death drama staged one morning at our bird feeder.
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Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
I've been singing that Rodgers and Hammerstein lyric on bright, cheery mornings ever since I performed the song on stage in the second grade. But I ask myself: what makes a beautiful morning beautiful?
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The Incredible, Edible Guinea Pig
Meet the two newest members of my household: Silky and Bandit, and pair of guinea pigs.
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The Trees Of Our Forests
We measure babies by length, not height. The blue whale is the world's longest animal, or at least the longest one with a backbone. What's the longest tree?
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Swings of The Pendulum
The balance of nature? Bah humbug. There isn't any, the late ecologist William Drury asserted. In nature, the steady state is constant change. Listen as I contemplate the biological pendulum that for most things swings from abundance to scarcity and back again.
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The One, The Tuatara
Of all the unique, curious creature in the world, none is curiouser than the reptile known as the tuatara. It lives only in New Zealand. It is neither crocodile nor turtle nor snake nor lizard.
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Perpetually Seeking Salamanders
We all have our passions and compulsions. One of mine is hunting for salamanders. When I catch them, I let them go. The fun isn't in the possessing, it's in the chase. Will you join me?
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Poignant End of Summer
First one at a time, then later by the truckload, leaves turn color. At first they signal the coming end of summer, then the arrival of fall, then turn our forests into one vast Jackson Pollack painting.
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The Thrill of Being There
While I watch nature videos with pleasure, especially if they're narrated by David Attenborough, and while I enjoy a stroll through a zoo now and again, it's always been clear to me that there's nothing more satisfying and fun
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Iron Eaters Near And Far
Weird living things you may never have heard of live deep in the oceans and in hot pools at Yellowstone. They live in your intestines and toilet tank, too. You gotta love them, for without them, we'd be nowhere.
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Great Things Happen at Dusk
When nights yields to day and day succumbs to darkness, wild beasts come out to fly and prowl. Scientists call them crepuscular. Listen and meet dusk specialists here.
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The Poignant End of Summer
According to the calendar, one day it's summer and the next it's fall. Nature marks the change of the season a little differently.
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Home On The Range With Ants And Aphids
I'd forgive anyone for thinking I was pulling a leg when telling them that some ants round up aphids on plant stems and tend them like dairy farmers care for cows.
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