PBS Nature

Sorry, Fido: These wild dogs have more skills

Sure, Fido and friends can savor their comfy lives.
They fetch balls, wiggle tales and are rewarded handsomely.
But compared to their untamed brethren (shown here), those are minor accomplishments. That becomes clear in “Dogs ion the Wild,” a three-part “Nature” series that starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 8) on PBS.
“They’re incredibly intelligent,” producer Jo Shinner told the Television Critics Association. “They’re incredibly resilient, adaptable. They’re on all continents throughout the world, except for Antarctica. They manage to sustain in ridiculous conditions.”
Her series looks at all 37 canine species, finding adaptations to those conditions. Read more…

A very short story

While watching the “Nature” season-finale, I learned an important fact: Storks like cork trees.
There are a lot of those trees in Portugal, with the cork bark harvested every eight years. Its branches often hold giant stork nests. I learned this while catching an advance version of the episode that airs at 8 p.m. April 27 on PBS.
Then I considered writing an epic poem. It would have a stork sitting on cork with a friend from York, brandishing a fork and studying a quark. I decided not to; it would make me seem like a dork.
(The end) Read more…

One PBS night: from frontier horse to bionic limbs

As the Olympics finally fade away, we can rediscover the rest of the TV universe.
That includes PBS, which has a remarkable night of non-fiction Wednesday (Feb. 23). In one night, it takes us from horses – the heroes of the American frontier – to a new generation of bionic limbs.
That starts at 8 p.m. with a beautifully filmed edition of “Nature.” Horses were here 40 million years ago, filmmaker Eric Bendick told the Television Critics Association, then disappeared from North America. “They actually came back with the Spanish conquistadores, (leading to) the arrival of the mustang” (shown here). Read more…

This park has lots of nature, few people

If your goal is to be outdoors and away from people, then Big Bend National Park (shown here) is your spot.
It has a lot of outdoors – almost 800,000 acres, in the bend of the Rio Grande River, in Texas. And it has few people. “It is one of the least-visited national parks in the U.S.,” said Skip Hobbie, who filmed a gorgeous hour for “Nature,” at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 10) on PBS.
That’s relative, of course. Overall visitation (400,000 a year) is topped ten-fold by Yellowstone and Yosemite – and 30-fold by the Grand Smokey Mountains National Park. But some get fewer people – 26,000 at Isle Royale in Michigan, 10,000 at Gate of the Arctic in Alaska Read more…

Amid the inferno: animal-rescue heroics

Adrina Selles was getting used to this: Fires (shown here) raged through the Australian bush country, endangering her animal-rehab center.
“We were threatened on four different occasions, from four different directions,” Selles – featured in a “Nature” film at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 28) on PBS – recalled. “We had to evacuate each time.”
Then came the big one – a massive, New Year’s Eve blaze that would consume 46 million acres.
“We thought we were going to lose the whole property,” she told the Television Critics Association. She couldn’t protect the 15 joeys (young kangaroos) in her care. “We just had to open the gates and (hope they would) find shelter.” Read more…