Nature | Animal Homes
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Watch Wednesdays, April 8 - 22, 2015 at 8pm on WMHT TV.

This three-part series investigates just how animals build their amazing homes, and the intriguing behaviors and social interactions that take place in and around them. Ecologist Chris Morgan serves as guide and animal real estate agent, evaluating and deconstructing animal homes, their material, location, neighborhood and aesthetics. Throughout, the series delves into the amazing flexibility animal architects display, the clever choices they make, and the ingenious ways they deal with troublesome habitats.

The Nest | Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 8pm

Bird nests come in all shapes and sizes, crafted from a diversity of materials, including fur, grasses, leaves, mosses, sticks and twigs, bones, wool, mud and spider silk. Quite a few contain man-made materials — twine, bits of wire, even plastic bags. Each is a work of art, built with just a beak! All over the world, birds in the wild arrive at diverse nesting grounds to collect, compete for, reject, steal and begin to build with carefully selected materials, crafting homes for the task of protecting their eggs and raising their young. 

Location, Location, Location | Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 8pm

Finding a good base of operations is key to successfully raising a family. One must find the right stream or tree, the right building materials, neighbors and sometimes tenants. In the wild, every home is a unique DIY project, every head of household a designer and engineer. Cameras chart the building plans and progress of beavers, tortoises, hummingbirds and woodrats, examining layouts and cross sections, evaluating the technical specs of their structures, documenting their problem-solving skills. Animal architecture provides insights into animal consciousness, creativity and innovation.

Animal Cities | Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 8pm

For some animals, living in the midst of huge colonies of their own kind is the most secure and rewarding housing arrangement. Icelandic puffins form nesting colonies of more than a million, providing shared information about food sources and reducing the odds of attacks on individual birds. But colonies are useful for predators, too. Social spiders in Ecuador work together to capture prey 20 times the size an individual might subdue on its own. For others, communal living provides multi-generational care-giving options or the opportunity to build enormous cities like the acre-wide multi-million-citizen colonies built by leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica, or Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, built entirely by tiny corals.