Natural North Dakota | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Natural North Dakota

Saturday and Sunday at 8:35 am CT
  • Hosted by Prairie Public

Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of "Natural North Dakota" and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, Chuck has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror, and his “The Naturalist” columns appear in several other weekly North Dakota newspapers. Lura has been a biology professor at Dakota College at Bottineau since 1984, and he publishes research on ecological aspects of grasslands in the northern Great Plains.

Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

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Ice Music

Jan 5, 2019

It has been rather quiet around Lake Metigoshe recently. But I have been able to enjoy ice music occasionally. As some of you know, once a body of water has frozen over and temperatures drop, the big ice making machine can produce some interesting music. These concerts occur mostly during the evening hours when temperatures drop considerably. They can also occur during the morning hours when the sun comes up and temperatures quickly rise.

It looks like winter has settled in for the long haul. No doubt many among us have been enjoying nature and the outdoors through hunting or fishing. With the big white blanket spread across the landscape, it is also a good time to enjoy a bit of nature. Maybe this will be a good winter for enjoying the natural world along with the winter snow. 


Dec 15, 2018

We have a couple boxelder trees near our house. With the leaves all off the tree this time of year, its shape is quite distinctive. Plus the trees are either male or female, and the female trees tend to hold on to their fruits well into the winter, making them rather conspicuous.

Muskrats in Winter

Dec 1, 2018

I often drive past marshes with muskrat lodges during my winter routine. I cannot help but wonder how they are faring.

Those lodges provide good cover and insulation from the winter cold. The lodge has a small living chamber above the waterline with one or two opening to the water below. Muskrats feed on the roots of cattails, bulrushes, and other aquatic vegetation. And they remain active and feed regularly under the cover of ice during the winter months.

We could be in for a lot of birds at our bird feeders this winter. If you maintain a few, you might want to make a point to keep them well stocked this winter. If you don’t have a few feeders, now might be a good time to buy some. And of course, Christmas is not that far away. Consider giving bird feeders as gifts.

Each year from November 6-30 the earth passes through the debris field of comet Tempel-Tuttle, or what we call the Leonids Meteor Shower. This year the peak viewing period is the evening of Saturday, November 17, and early morning hours of November 18. The number of meteor showers during the peak viewing period is expected to be around 15 meteors per hour. 

American Elm

Nov 3, 2018

I have been thinking about elms lately. I recently ran across an article about elm trees in the Washington Post by Phil McCombs from 2001: “Once upon a time in America, great leafy high-arching cathedrals of elms lined the streets of villages and cities from the Atlantic to the Rockies, casting a deep cool shade upon life’s turmoil.”

Common Carp

Oct 27, 2018

I recently saw a news item about a project to improve the water quality of Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis. So just what does it involve? It might surprise you, but the answer to that question is carp removal. 

Coot Migration

Oct 20, 2018

In case you haven’t noticed, the coots are on the move! They are congregating on wetlands across the state. And of course, one of these days we will look out on those wetlands, and there they will be… Gone!

Leopard Frogs

Oct 13, 2018

Audio Pending...

I saw a northern leopard frog in the Turtle Mountains recently. It has been a long time since I had last seen one. Maybe I am not frequenting the right areas. Actually, it is probably more complicated (and serious) than my rambling habits.