Field Guide to North American Wildlife
David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation and the author of Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife. He has appeared on shows such as The Martha Stewart Show, Conan, The Wendy Williams Show, and NBC’s TODAY, and he has hosted series on Animal Planet and Nat Geo WILD. He earned a BA in Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University.
01: Where the Red Wolf Still Roams
Begin your look at North American wildlife with the incredibly rare red wolf, now one of the world’s most endangered species. Comparable in size to a German Shepherd, these wolves can only be found on the Albemarle Peninsula of eastern North Carolina.
02: The Resurgent American Alligator
Encounter a North American species that used to be endangered but has since bounced back. After a story that shows the kinds of challenges American alligators face, investigate the fascinating habits and remarkable abilities of this resilient reptile.
03: What You Probably Don’t Know about Bees
Explore not just one wildlife species but a group that includes thousands of individual species. While bees are all smaller than your little finger, they’re critically important to our ecosystems, and help keep life as we know it functioning.
04: The Monarch Butterfly’s Astonishing Journey
Many of us can identify the beautiful monarch butterfly, at a glance, but far fewer of us realize why its looks are so distinctive, or just how extraordinary a creature it is. Follow this fascinating insect on its astonishing annual migration of up to 3,000 miles.
05: The Tiny but Fierce Screech Owl
Screech owls are beautiful and agile, but most of us have no idea these birds are our neighbors—partly because they’re small, and partly because they’re masters of camouflage. Learn more about the screech owl’s dramatic, dangerous life.
06: The Arduous, Important Lives of Salmon
Whether you’ve seen them in the wild or only on your dinner plate, you’ve likely encountered salmon. But you may not realize—as you’ll learn here—that salmon are important not only to ocean and river ecosystems, but also to those on land, as well.
07: The Giant Hellbender Salamander
At two feet long, the giant hellbender salamander is the largest salamander in North America. Discover why David thinks these wonderfully weird creatures are so cool, including the fascinating fact that they can breathe through their skin.
08: Neither Pig nor Rodent: The Tusked Javelina
Learn about an animal often mistaken for a pig that’s been in North America for millions of years. Also known as the collared peccary, the tusked javelina is an intelligent creature that has no problem living peacefully near us—as long as we leave it alone.
09: Opossum: A Kangaroo Cousin in Your Backyard
Separate fact from fiction about the Virginia opossum with a story on why opossums need the impressive skills they’ve developed. Then, explore why the last century has seen the species expand its range northward and westward, and even into Canada.
10: Secrets of the Leatherback Sea Turtle
Much of the life of a leatherback sea turtle is a mystery to us, taking place in the open ocean and often deep below its surface. David reveals what makes this animal so awe-inspiring—and so worth saving for future generations.
11: What to Do If You Meet a Black Bear
Get to know the species of bear you’re most likely to encounter in North America: the American black bear. You’ll learn what makes these bears so intelligent, fascinating, and resourceful. You’ll even learn how to act if you see one in the wild.
12: The Horseshoe Crab’s Many Gifts
Conclude the course by learning about what might be the oldest, unchanged animal species on our planet. Horseshoe crabs—they’re actually not crabs at all—look like they come from another galaxy, but they play a crucial role in our marine and coastal ecosystems.