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Science

Best of Natural History Radio

Updated 4 days ago

Science
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The BBC Natural History Unit produces a wide range of programmes that aim to immerse a listener in the wonder, surprise and importance that nature has to offer.

Read more

The BBC Natural History Unit produces a wide range of programmes that aim to immerse a listener in the wonder, surprise and importance that nature has to offer.

iTunes Ratings

43 Ratings
Average Ratings
33
2
2
3
3

Spectacular

By HopkintonHiller - Jul 21 2013
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Wonderful podcast,. Only wish they were longer.

Great Podcast

By kopite8 - Mar 06 2010
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One of my favorte podcasts!

iTunes Ratings

43 Ratings
Average Ratings
33
2
2
3
3

Spectacular

By HopkintonHiller - Jul 21 2013
Read more
Wonderful podcast,. Only wish they were longer.

Great Podcast

By kopite8 - Mar 06 2010
Read more
One of my favorte podcasts!

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Cover image of Best of Natural History Radio

Best of Natural History Radio

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

The BBC Natural History Unit produces a wide range of programmes that aim to immerse a listener in the wonder, surprise and importance that nature has to offer.

Rank #1: Natural Histories : Bee

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Bees have been the subject of fascination and reverence since ancient times. Natural Histories explores the story of bees and why humans like to compare themselves to them, seeing ourselves as either virtuous workers or moral examples. The ancient Greek poets thought of themselves as bees who foraged and chose the sweetest words to produce great art, while the Victorians admired bees for their industry and selflessness. But with news of declining bee populations around the world, Natural Histories talks to those who monitor the decline of some species and try to address the ecological problems causing their demise, as well as to honeybee keepers who say that in the cities, bees are actually thriving.

Oct 25 2019

27mins

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Rank #2: Chris Packham celebrates Tweet of the Day

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The thought of spring without Springwatch on the BBC would be unthinkable, and Springwatch without it's erudite host Chris Packham likewise. Chris has also been a long time supporter of another BBC institution on Radio 4, Tweet of the Day, first presenting this series in 2013. What better then than for Chris to record especially for Tweet of the Day, a loose tie in with Springwatch, celebrating the birds that may be seen in Sherborne while the team were on air. But in this episode Chris also answers some more searching questions, such as who from the world of natural history would he invite to dinner, with a surprising answer.
You can hear Chris's episodes on the Radio 4 website along with a lot more thoughts of all things avian via the Tweet of the Week pages.

Jun 17 2018

14mins

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Rank #3: The Living World - 27 Nov 11 - Cuckoo Trees

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The Living World: Cuckoo Trees
In early winter, Joanna Pinnock heads up to the Stiperstone Hills in Shropshire. Here she meets up with Sara Bellis and Carl Pickup from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust at a remarkable place, The Hollies. Here high up on the windswept hills, Joanna encounters ancient holly trees, which could be as old as 400 years. Holly, naturally an understory tree of more developed woodland, is not suited to grow up here in the cold windy conditions. But how and why these trees came to be here is something of a mystery.
Produced by Andrew Dawes

Nov 27 2011

22mins

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Rank #4: Shared Planet - 16 July 13 - Living with Carnivores

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In this week's programme we report from India where John Aitchison revels in the sight of two tigers, who magnificent though they are, are now in effect in an island population, separated from the farmland that surrounds the Bandhavgarh National Park by an electric fence. Lion biologist Craig Packer from the University of Minnesota will be speaking to Monty about his observations in Tanzania where upward of 100 people a year are being killed by lions raiding villages. And David Macdonald, Professor of Wildlife Conservation at Oxford University, will be exploring this area of conflict with Monty in the Shared Planet studio.

Jul 16 2013

28mins

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Rank #5: Living World - Fairy Rings

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Both mysterious and fascinating fairy rings are steeped in mythology. In this episode of the Living World Chris Sperring accompanies fungi expert Lynne Boddy from Cardiff University to the National Botanical Garden of Wales to bust the myths and explore the little known subterranean world of fairy rings. Each ring is formed of a single individual fungus and are at their most obvious when their mushrooms appear above ground on pasture and in woodland.

Nov 10 2013

21mins

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Rank #6: Saving Species - 22 Jan 13: Bonobos & Dragon Trees

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Ep21 of 24: This week Saving Species looks at Bonobos - a great ape, related to chimpanzees, and found in the forest of the Congo Basin of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Theo Webb reports from the Salonga National Park investigating the threat from an increase in hunting for the bushmeat trade. Also Michael Scott reports on the Dragon Tree, a native species of Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. There are only one or two native wild dragon trees left on Madeira and Saving Species finds out from local conservationists what is being done to increase the number of trees in the wild from original seed. Presenter: Brett Westwood. Producer: Sheena Duncan. Editor: Julian Hector.

Jan 24 2013

27mins

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Rank #7: Saving Species - 25 Dec 12: British Overseas Territories

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Ep 17 of 24:
Howard Stableford is in the chair for this Christmas Day Saving Species with a programme on conservation in some of the British Overseas Territories.
A report from Ed Drewitt with Dr Ian Stephen about the last chance conservation effort to save the Mountain chicken frog threatened with the Chytrid fungus.
A report about "Team Rat" who are planning in January 2013 to save the albatrosses and petrels that nest on South Georgia from being eaten by rodents.
Howard looks at the establishment of marine conservation areas around the British oveseas teritories through interviews with Alistair Gammell of the PEW Fondation about and DEFRA Minister for Biodiversity, Richard Benyon.
Presenter Howard Stableford
Producer Mary Colwell
Editor Julian Hector

Dec 25 2012

27mins

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Rank #8: Nature 24 Apr 2012 Hedgehogs

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Paul Evans investigates the decline of the British hedgehog and finds out that even estimating the population of this familiar creature is a daunting task for scientists.
Producer: Brett Westwood
Editor: Julian Hector

Apr 24 2012

28mins

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Rank #9: Saving Species (Srs 2) 22 Nov 11 - Ep 27

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27/30 This week the programme is all about trees and forests. In the UK this is national tree week. We have a story where a 500 year plan is being rolled out to restore ancient woodland in the British landscape. We also have a report from Italy on the success of designating a forest "sacred" to save it. And the Monkey Puzzle tree. A report from Michael Scott on the importance of the genetic diversity of Monkey Puzzles in Scottish gardens and parks to the Chile, the native country of this species.
Presented by Brett Westwood
Produced by Mary Colwell
Editor Julian Hector

Nov 22 2011

28mins

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Rank #10: Natural Histories : Sloth

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The dreamy smile of the sloth has made it wildly popular, but once its slowness was condemned and saw it named after one of the seven deadly sins. Brett Westwood and Joanna Pinnock talk to those who really know, understand and live with sloths and ask if we're still projecting our own feelings onto them. Our changing attitudes to sloths tell us more about ourselves than about this harmless animal. Dr Rebecca Cliffe, founder of the Sloth Conservation Foundation and a leading researcher, is in the rainforest in Costa Rica with them right now. She describes how local people feel about them, while she sits under a tree with a sloth at the top. Joanna Pinnock tries for her own encounter with Marilyn the sloth and her baby Elio at ZSL London Zoo, and experiences the magic of sloths at first hand. William Hartston, author of Sloths: A Celebration of the World’s Most Misunderstood Mammal. explains the vexed history of sloth first as a sin then its next incarnation as a harmless South American treetop dweller named after that sin, and the repercussions for the animal down the centuries. He also shares his opinion on the best sloth in film. And it's not Sid from Ice Age. And the poet Debbie Lim reads her poem Gift of the Sloth, describing other ways in which they deserve our admiration, but again not for the reasons that the current popular image of sloths would seem to suggest.

Oct 18 2019

27mins

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Rank #11: Shared Planet - Insects and Lights

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Artificial lighting is ubiquitous in the developed world - but the effects of night time illumination on wildlife are not yet fully understood.
While we know that artificial light changes the behaviour of some animals we're still a long way from knowing whether those changes can damage wildlife populations.
Monty Don finds out what we do know with particular regard to an important but often overlooked group of animals - insects.

Oct 14 2014

27mins

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Rank #12: Planet Puffin. Episode 1 Island Life

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Emily Knight & Becky Ripley, from Blue Planet II: The Podcast, drop anchor at Scotland’s Ilse of May as the puffins return after a winter at sea and the year’s breeding season is getting under way.

They meet reserve manager Steely for a tour around the island’s three famous lighthouses and hear the ghastly story that could have put its first burning beacon of flames to rest.

And a husband and wife who dedicated decades to studying puffins on the Isle of May reveal how much there’s left to discover about the mysterious life of the island’s puffins.

As they report through the summer, Emily and Becky would love to hear your puffin stories: #planetpuffin

Join them for a slice of island life, where stories of the past are met by the cries of seabirds.

May 15 2019

17mins

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Rank #13: Shared Planet - Albatrosses and Fishing

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Albatrosses are giant flying seabirds that inhabit the southern oceans. Many species have been studied intensively over decades on their breeding grounds in the sub-Antarctic and the Pacific. Clever studies involving satellite tracking and simple observations from ships have shown they can disperse and forage across the whole of the southern ocean. Monitoring of their populations has shown a marked decline in their numbers since the 1980's so much so all albatross species are now threatened. A key cause of albatross decline was found quickly after the decline in populations was noticed; long-line fishing hooks baited with squid and floating on the surface after being deployed was an easy meal for an ocean scavenger and often their last. Shared Planet visits this story many years after it broke to report a cautious success on the high level conservation measures that were put in place involving biologists and the fishing industry.

Oct 28 2014

27mins

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Rank #14: Shared Planet - 30 July 13 - What is Sustainability?

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In this week's programme we have a report from Gloucestershire on the waxing and waning of Eel populations. Jonathan Porritt, one of the founders of the sustainability charity Forum for the Future will be in the Shared Planet studio to explore the issues and the wider implication of sustainability and Monty also speaks with Pavan Sukhdev, founder of the GIST Advisory - a specialist consulting firm which helps governments and corporations manage their impacts on natural and human capital.

Jul 30 2013

27mins

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Rank #15: Living World - Pine Marten

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This week on Living World, presenter Trai Anfield travels to mid Scotland for an encounter with one of Britain's rarest mammals, the pine marten. Here in a remote landscape she meets up with Martyn Jamieson from the Field Studies Council for a safari with a difference, can they find a female with young, high in the tree tops?
Producer: Andrew Dawes

Aug 11 2013

21mins

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Rank #16: Living World - Adders of Loch Lomond

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On the eastern edge of Loch Lomond adders are preparing for another summer. Spring-time sun has coaxed them from their winter hibernacula and as the weather warms males have begun to look for potential mates. The adder is one of the most studied and yet misunderstood British animals. With distinct markings and predictable habits individual adders can be tracked for years by the people who know how, exposing their mysterious behaviours. Yet adders are still despised by some, unaware that their docile and cautious nature makes the risk of their painful, but very rarely dangerous, bite very small. Trai Anfield joins Chris McInerny on a showery, but warm early April morning to seek out these beautiful and captivating reptiles.
Produced by Ellie Sans

May 04 2014

21mins

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Rank #17: Living World from the Archives - Celtic Rainforest

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High in the hills of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales, can be found a rare and fascinating habitat. We all know of the importance of the Tropical Rainforests, however these Celtic Rainforests are in a way even rarer, with Britain being home to most of the best preserved examples in the World. The Valley is changing and time could possibly be running out for these remarkable and sensitive habitats, which have been suffering from pollution and climate change since the dawn of the Industrial Age.
Brett Westwood relives programmes from The Living World archives, this episode from 2011. Wales is home to a remarkable and rare forest. Paul Evans joins Ray Woods from Plantlife Cymru in Snowdonia.
In an area where 200 days of rain each year is normal, Paul and Ray don their waterproofs and venture up the valley of the Rhaeadr Ddu, the Black Waterfall. The landscape in this valley is dominated by water, not only from the exceptional rainfall this area is known for, but from the river thundering along many rapids and waterfalls providing a constant mist of high humidity within the Atlantic wood enveloping the valley. Linked to a mild climate in this part of Wales, everything in the woodland is a carpeted in a magical sea of emerald green moss, fungi and lichen.
This valley is home to some rare and exotic plants, the filmy ferns are however special in this landscape. Ray and Paul eventually make it to the side of the huge Rhaeadr Ddu waterfall itself, where, as the roar of the water almost drowns their voices, there on a single rocky outcrop, bathed in constant spray they discover the rare, minute and exotically beautiful Tunbridge Filmy-fern. Nearby a Wilson's Filmy-fern is found on a single boulder of an ancient moss encrusted dry stone wall. How did this Filmy-fern get here is a point of discussion.

Mar 25 2018

22mins

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Rank #18: Saving Species - 15 Jan 13: Marine Conservation Zones

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Ep20 of 24: Marine Conservation Zones are in the spotlight this week, as Saving Species looks at the importance of protecting our marine life. In December it was revealed that only 31 of the 127 proposed Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have the chance of being implemented for the first tranche. Kelvin Boot is live in the studio with Brett Westwood, plus Trai Anfield is in Filey Brigg in North Yorkshire to visit a zone that didn't make the cut. There are also interviews with Matt Frost, the deputy director of the Marine Biological Association and the Environment Minister Richard Benyon. Presenter: Brett Westwood. Producer: Mary Colwell. Editor: Julian Hector

Jan 15 2013

27mins

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Rank #19: Living World 02 Dec 12 - The Living Deadwood

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The Living Deadwood.
Trai Anfield is in ancient woodland in North Yorkshire known for its deadwood bugs led by passionate invertebrate expert Roger Key.
Produced by Andrew Dawes

Dec 02 2012

22mins

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Rank #20: Living World : My Living World : Stone Curlew

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Wildlife film maker Hannah Stitfall is joined by Dom Davies, a wildlife film researcher to discuss another pick from the Living World archive. Today their subject is Stone Curlews and a programme in which the presenter Joanna Pinnock travels to Wiltshire in search of these crepuscular waders whose haunting calls can be heard after dusk. She is joined by Nick Adams of the RSPB who has been working with local farmers on a conservation project to improve the habitat for these birds and restore the population which became seriously depleted in the mid-1980s. For Hannah and Dom the programme offers a rare encounter with a bird that few of us will have seen or heard.

Oct 13 2019

21mins

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