John Weeks talks about bellwethers. In previous episodes he used the term, but never actually defined it. He reveals that term refers to a sheep, usually a gelded male. He wears a bell around his neck and is a leader for a flock of sheep and an indicator for the whereabouts of the flock in extremely foggy weather conditions. This was all he could find about the term and it was not even in the encyclopedia or other resources he looked in for the term. He had to “wing it” from there and elaborated on the definition based on his own experiences.
John Weeks talks about his knowledge of the opossum. During an early morning road trip he saw an opossum about to cross the road where cars were steadily driving and quickly turned around to avoid getting hit. Anybody that drives and has seen a possum on the road knows that there slow pace makes them vulnerable which increases their rate of road kill. At one point they were so rare that people did not believe he actually saw them, but that has changed now.
This episode of Nature of Things was originally aired December 12th, 1991.
John Weeks informs us about one of the most intelligent bears, the black bear. This bear was known to pioneers as attacking their mammals and taking them as food. He talks about fear he felt while in the woods. While making his way back home on a camping trip he heard a lot of noise, and thought it was a pig. Only the end trail of a bear was left behind when he went to the location where the scuffling was heard. He describes bears as a big appetite wrapped up in a powerful body. He found that even a dead bear is hard to handle because of its weight.
John Weeks discusses the change in a duck’s body from season to season. He recognizes the differentiations between female ducks and male ducks. He observes ducks playing in a pond before these ponds freeze due to the cold weather. He observes other animals that will be in hiding very soon as winter is approaching rapidly.
This episode of Nature of Things was originally aired November 21st, 1991.
John Weeks discusses reliving taking trips down roads to see the wildlife we will not see until next season as the weather gets colder. Stopping at major vistas he has previously visited he can always predict what he is going to see. As the hunting season carries on there are more white tail deer seen during the day. Deer are most interesting during these days as winter sets in. There is always a tad bit of new learning or reinforcing of something he thought he knew at these vistas. Weeks tells us of his interesting findings.
John Weeks looks back on an old Nature of Things program where he reviewed an old past time he calls cruising for wildlife. He's been cruising for wildlife for the past 50 years and talks about the number of kills he found while on the road. He was so interested that he was able to find out the reason for the casualty by observing the animal. Though it may sound gruesome it was yet very educational and he takes us down the evolution of that journey.
This episode was originally aired October 25th, 1991.
John Weeks recalls his trip to Skaneateles Lake. He describes to us what the lake looks like and the troubles he endured during this venture. He tells us about the mountains he climbed and the magnificent red and white oaks he saw while trying to his way back until a motorist rescued them and returned them to the doorstep they started at.
This episode of Nature of Things was originally aired on November 8th, 1991.
John Weeks discusses his reaction to an article in The National Inquirer about Audubon. The article talks about pioneer Audubon killing thousands of birds for sport. Many were shocked by this startling revelation but because Weeks has read portions of Audubon’s diaries in the past he was not surprised at all. It is hard to put ourselves in the lives of a pioneer during hunting season in the 1780s. Living in an era where hunting skill was vital to successful living Audubon’s actions were typical of his day though.
John Weeks discusses the appearance of young Screech Owls. Normally hatching in early June, by Independence Day these fuzzy small owls begin venturing out of the nest. Weeks explains the interesting (and often aggressive) life style of the Screech Owl and how to get a better view of these monogamous creatures.
John Weeks discusses the many unique and beautiful local plants that are not native to U.S. soil. Weeks explains the multitude of ways these plants arrived in the Americas. Some came to be used for food (Dandelion), while some came because of their pretty appearance (the Daisy). Others weren't actually meant to be brought here at all.
John Weeks talks about Tent Caterpillars and their effect on apple and cherry trees. Weeks explains how these insects, usual thought of as pests, serve a necessary role in the ecosystem. In fact, the Tent Caterpillars are not really harmful to the trees at all.
John Weeks encourages his listeners to stop and study the ferns. Ferns can be confusing and difficult to identify. Still, Weeks believes that their elegant form and unusual lifecycle make these plants worth your time and energy.
John Weeks talks about Gaylord Nelson, also known as "the father of Earth day" and his history of how he became to be know what he is today. Weeks also talks about how consistent Nelson in developing an environmental ethic and protecting nature.