Tour of (Nature’s) Homes

April 15, 2015 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

For the past two days, I’ve had the joy of watching a gray squirrel (the one in the picture) decide whether to take up residence in a maple tree. He looks young and probably hasn’t built a nest yet, but I can tell he’d like to make his home here. He’s been scurrying up and down chasing birds away, plus the tree is just a few bounces from a well-stocked bird feeder.

Both animals and humans love to build their homes where opportunity exists. We like to make our homes close to work or school and in safe places away from natural disasters. As for the opportunities that animals look for, Nature “Animal Homes” has that topic covered tonight.

On this episode, you’ll learn why and how beavers live along waterways, why gopher tortoises live underground, why some hummingbirds strangely find comfort living underneath hawk nests and so much more.

“Animal Homes” is a three-part series, so after you’ve watched tonight you can check out Episode 1 “The Nest” online and also watch Episode 3 “Animal Cities” on Wednesday, April 22. That episode will explore the acre-wide, multi-million-citizen colonies built by leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica. But you can see leaf cutter ants right here in Wisconsin thanks to the UW-Madison Ant Cam.

Outside of the laboratory, ants will soon be building their little mounds here in Wisconsin. And, many songbirds are back and building nests. So it’s a great time to get outside and explore some animal homes yourself. Find some animal homes and share your photos on the Nature website.

Oh, and if you’re curious, the squirrel in my maple tree appears to have turned its sights elsewhere. The maple in question is also a favorite of the woodpeckers, and no one enjoys noisy neighbors.

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