Sep 232011
Friday Film:: City Bats

A new feature on The Metropolitan Field Guide will be a video post every other week. There are a lot of great videos out there about urban wildlife, urban biodiversity and many other topics related to the design of urban wildlife habitat. Some are art films while others are documentaries, lectures and discussions. To kick off this feature, the first video features the Congress Avenue Bridge Mexican free-tailed bats in Austin, the largest urban bat colony in North America. The bats leave the crevices at dusk every night from March through November while hundreds of people line up along the bridge, shores …continue reading

Sep 212011
Integrated Habitats Design Competition 2010:: Matripolis

As the 2011 Integrated Habitats Design Competition is getting launched, I’m looking at the winning entries from the 2010 competition in a series of posts. Matripolis, which won the runner up prize, is a designed community for 500 people created by Paul Jones and David Dobereiner. The design is based on terracing of an old industrial shipyard sitting along a bend in a river with the goal that every resident can step outside their home into a “rich realm of biodiversity”. The terracing curve around in a ‘U’ shape with a community area in the center while the slopes merge with the parkland and …continue reading

Sep 162011
Wildlife Plants:: Pacific Bleeding Heart

The pink, heart-shaped flowers of this plant define the pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa). While the flowers are not as showy as some of the popular ornamental varieties, the plant as a whole is still beautiful and offers great benefits to a variety of wildlife. Growing 8-18″ high, the plant is a perennial which dies back to the ground in the winter and is usually found in wetter settings such as forests, ravines and along creeks. The leaves are deeply cut which gives the foliage a delicate, lacy, fern-like appearance. The flowers, which stand only slightly higher than the foliage, …continue reading

Sep 142011
Swift Night Out

Read Urban Species Profile:: Swifts for detailed information about the Vaux’s Swifts.  Twice a year Vaux’s Swifts roost in the chimney at Frank Wagner Elementary School in Monroe, Washington. Once a year the school hosts ‘Swift Night Out’ where people come visit from all over the state, and even country to watch the swifts descend at dusk into the school’s chimney. There are educational booths from groups like local Audubon chapters and there is a swift expert who gives a talk. The 4’x4′ chimney is no longer used to heat the school and is now left to the swifts. It was recently …continue reading

Sep 092011
Foragings:: The latest news, resources, designs and more

News Green Roofs:: An informative article by green roof expert Dusty Gedge discusses the benefits of small-scale green roofs for biodiversity. What kind of meadow is best for wildlife?:: This interesting article from the Guardian’s garden blog discusses the benefits and differences between and urban meadow and traditional meadow. Do Golf Courses Make Good Bat Habitats?:: An article from ScienceNOW which features a wildlife ecologists recent study on the potential benefit of golf courses for bats and found that they can indeed be good bat habitat. Wildlife In The City In The Desert:: This interesting article features urban wildlife not common to …continue reading

Sep 012011
Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens Blog Roundup

Back in May I announced that I was joining the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens team to contribute a post every month. I have since then written five articles for the blog but unless you follow The Metropolitan Field Guide on Twitter or Facebook you may have missed them. This post is a roundup of those first five posts, and in the future I will post an excerpt and link here when I have a new article on the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog. Get Thee a Hand Lens! As a naturalist there are certain pieces of equipment which are …continue reading