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October 2, 2021

A flock of bird issues in Indiana

Blue jayA mysterious illness killing songbirds swooped in over the summer and became front-page news across Indiana. Concurrently, the Covid-19 pandemic that's been so devastating for people apparently has had a positive impact on the hobby of birding.

Hoosier History Live will do a deep dive into those and other issues related to our feathered friends. In September, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources lifted its moratorium on feeding birds in about a dozen counties after several months during which Hoosiers took down their bird feeders and bird baths in efforts to stop the spread of the mysterious illness.

Common grackleThe cause of the disease - which has been fatal to songbirds including American robins, blue jays, Northern cardinals and common grackles - remains unknown. Some experts have said the cause of the illness, which also has been reported in Ohio, Kentucky and several other statescould remain an enigma..

Don GorneyTo discuss the mystery and share insights about several other aspects under the umbrella topic of birding, Nelson will be joined by an Indianapolis-based expert who has led bird walks, overseen conservation projects and conducted bird research. Our guest Don Gorney, former director of bird conservation and education for Amos Butler Audubon, reports that the Covid pandemic has led to an increase in backyard birding.

"Many people are turning to birding for solace," according to a recent article in the newsletter of the National Audubon Society

Rofous HummingbirdDuring our show, Don will offer advice about how to get started birding. He also will discuss locales to find birds, including sites on the Indiana Birding Trail. In addition, Don will share insights about hummingbirds and eagles that can be seen in Indiana. He says the Ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species that breeds in the eastern United States, including Indiana, but other species show up here in the fall and winter.

Don Gorney has seen 383 species of birds in Indiana, which he says is about 90 percent of all known species to have ever occurred in the Hoosier state. He has been our guest on previous shows focusing on birds, including a program in 2014 about passenger pigeons and other extinct or endangered species.


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Roadtrip: Stroll up Historic Meridian Street in Indianapolis

"Take a stroll up Historic Meridian Street" says our guest Roadtripper Kassie Ritman, author of  Meridian Street and Meridian Whispers. The street boasts two governor's mansions, and was once home to a slew of local, national, and international figures in literature, industry, medicine, religion, and politics. 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it's the perfect open-air street museum for an easy afternoon. And each house has its own distinctive style. The Thompson House in the 4300 block of N. Meridian St. was built in 1920 and is a Georgian Revival style buff-colored red brick mansion. It consists of a two-story, five-bay, central section flanked by one-story wings. It has a slate hipped roof and features a full width front porch and an elliptical portico at the main entry. The house served as the governor's mansion from 1945 to 1970.



Nelson Price, host and historian
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