The Naturalist’s Art of Animal Encounters
Whether you see some deer, have a fox cross your path, or spot a moose, there’s something disportionately delightful about encountering wildlife. Even seeing something pedestrian like a possum feels really fun.
If you’d like to have more of these kinds of encounters, and a deeper experience with nature as a result, my guest has some tips for making them happen more often. His name is Dave Hall, and he’s an outdoor educator and guide, as well as the author of The Naturalist’s Companion: A Field Guide to Observing and Understanding Wildlife. Today on the show, Dave and I first talk about the safety and ethical considerations around observing wild animals. We then discuss the best places to spot wildlife (and how it could be in your own backyard), whether there’s a best time of day to encounter animals, and the approach to take so that the animals don’t know you’re there, or if they do, feel comfortable with your presence. Dave shares the gaze to adopt to spy more animals and the signs that will help you find them. We end our conversation with how to practice what Dave calls “spontaneous acceptance,” which may allow you to chill with a beaver.
Resources Related to the Podcast
- Field guides and nature-related books that Dave recommends:
- Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking by Tom Brown Jr.
- Peterson Field Guides
- Timber Press Field Guides
- Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign by Paul Rezendes
- What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon Young
- Touching the Wild by Joe Hutto
- Beaversprite: My Years Building an Animal Sanctuary by Dorothy Richards
- Dave’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #157 — Primitive Pursuits & Winter Survival
- AoM Article: A Primer on Identifying Animal Footprints
- AoM Podcast #739: Rewild Your Life
- AoM Podcast #194: The Field Notes of Theodore Roosevelt
Connect With Dave Hall
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