28 Sep Wild Nordic
It is easy to think that Nordic wildlands are barren icescapes and, if you go far enough north you’d be right. If you stay south of the polar circle, you will avoid the harsh winters and short summers of the region. Most of the Nordic wilds are forests, kept alive by the many streams, rivers and lakes dotting the landscapes.
Fish are the main diet of many birds in the Nordic regions. No other place on the planet has a higher population density of White-tailed eagles than in Norway. These are some of the largest raptors in the earth. The competition for food is fierce. It’s not uncommon for the adolescent birds to clash talons mid-flight fighting for food.
Away from the still waters of lakes, a fascinating little bird managed to find a niche where competition isn’t such a problem. White-throated dippers make their homes in the rapids. They utilize their incredible swimming skills and oxygen-rich blood to stay submerged for a full minute. They search for food in currents that would sweep away other birds in a heart-beat. They are so good at dealing with thundering water that they build their nests behind waterfalls to protect their young; quite the hiding spot.
The forests are home to other creatures that are good at hiding things. Red squirrels spend all of their summer days foraging for acorns and hiding them all over the forest floor. They don’t hibernate during winter. Keeping a ready source of food that they can find during the winter months is very important. Without them, they wouldn’t survive the winters.
The cold does become a big problem up north, however. The beautiful Arctic Fox is covered in luxurious fur from head to toe, covering even the pouches of their paws. This fur envied by many a fashionista has led to their populations hunted to near extinction. Luckily a few places are breeding these magnificent creatures and releasing them into the wilds so that their numbers can become stable. The warmer temperature of the earth is a problem, however, for Red foxes of the south are inching further and further north and chasing the smaller Arctic foxes out of their territories.
These are just some of the animals that call the wild Nordic their home. See them and many more on this show.
Saturdays/Sundays at 6 PM on National Geographic Wild (ch 221)