Earth Notes

The Colorado Plateau is one of North America’s human and environmental treasures. Ancient cultures have called this land of sun-baked deserts and lush mountain landscapes home for centuries. Earth Notes, KNAU’s weekly environmental series, explores the Plateau by telling stories of the intricate relationships between environmental issues and our daily lives.

Rooted in science and wrapped in human interest, the two minute long segments encourage listeners to think of themselves as part of the solution to environmental problems. Upbeat and informative, the program tries to foster hope and dampen despair about the environment, and motivate listeners to become more conscious and informed stewards of the Colorado Plateau.

Earth Notes: Roadside Bird Rescue

Mar 31, 2021

Throwing an apple core out of your car window might seem like an inconsequential act. But jettisoned food creates a roadside buffet for animals and the raptors who hunt them. Unfortunately, that can sometimes lead to injuries and fatalities when birds are struck by passing cars.

Red-tailed hawks, kestrels and owls can also get caught in the air turbulence caused by fast-moving vehicles; it sweeps them up, and then throws them to the ground. If you hit a bird, or come across an injured one on the road, wildlife officials have some tips on what to do next.

AZGFD/George Andrejko

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is on the lookout for thousands of acres of habitat for one of the most endangered animals in North America: the black-footed ferret. Ideally, it would be an area of healthy grassland with a substantial population of prairie dogs, the ferret’s main food source.

American Museum of Natural History

A thousand years ago, the Ancestral Puebloans in Chaco Canyon crafted cylinder-shaped drinking vessels. They look like tall water glasses decorated with beautiful triangles and zigzag lines. Archeologists think these jars had a special purpose: they were used for drinking chocolate.

Iberdrola Renewables

There are currently three utility-scale wind farms in northern Arizona, with a fourth slated for development south of Winslow. Wind farms are important tools in the state’s pursuit of carbon-free power generation by 2050. But there is a downside….the rotating turbine blades can be fatal to birds.

Of thirty known bumble bee species in the western U.S., the bombus occidentalis – the western bumble bee - is among the most common. But their numbers are drastically declining.

Over the last two decades, these yellow-and-black furred insects have experienced a 90% drop in abundance across the West. That’s according to research by Jonathan Koch , an entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Logan, Utah. His data adds to a growing body of research with the same alarming findings.