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A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price.

Show airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis. Or install the WICR HD 1 app on your cell phone and stream live from anywhere.

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August 13, 2022

Birds of prey in Indiana

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Mark Booth with screech owlProbably the best way to swoop in and do a show that explores birds of prey in Indiana is to invite, as a guest, a wildlife expert who travels across the state accompanied by an assortment of live birds for educational purposes. Mark Booth, the director of Indianapolis-based Take Flight! Wildlife Education, will be Nelson's guest to share insights about various species of birds of prey. And to dispel misconceptions about them.

Hawks, falcons, owls and vultures will be among the birds that we spotlight during our show with Mark, who does outreach programs at schools, museums, clubs and nature centers. This month he has been making appearances, along with some of his birds of prey, at the Indiana State Fair.

"Are they in a bad mood?" Mark asked his audience during a recent presentation, referring to the glaring stare that's often associated with hawks. As Mark spoke, he was accompanied by a red-tailed hawk, which did seem to be, well, glaring. "No, it's not a bad mood. Hawks find food by their eyesight. They look like that (glare) to keep the sun out of their eyes."

Mark Booth with Red Tail HawkA master falconer, Mark was a senior zookeeper and the head bird trainer for more than 10 years at the Indianapolis Zoo. For several additional years, he was contracted to handle the zoo's bird of prey shows.

During our show, he will share tips about how to ID backyard raptors and, as he puts it, their "importance to suburban ecosystems.' Mark also will share insights about the reintroductions of the bald eagle and the Peregrine falcon to Indiana, including how and why that has been done.

He also will discuss the differences between hawks and falcons. During a recent presentation, Mark explained that the differences primarily involve their coloring and the shape of their wings, not their size. He also noted that hawks primarily eat ground animals including squirrels, mice, rabbits and snakes. In contrast, falcons typically dine on other birds.

Mark Booth with Barred OwlMark also will share insights about owls, including the Barred owl, a species found across Indiana. Known for their spectacular hearing and wide, flat face, Barred owls are primarily nocturnal and fond of mice. Many popular Indiana ghost stories involve a barn owl, Mark notes.

An avid outdoorsman with a distinctive, white beard, Mark says he has been teaching Hoosiers about nature and wildlife since his first job as a teenage instructor at a Cub Scout camp in Marion County.

This won't be Hoosier History Live's first foray into  the state's natural heritage regarding birds. Last year, we explored a range of topics, including an illness that was affecting songbirds like robins, cardinals and blue jays, in a show  with Don Gorney, former director of bird conservation and education for Amos Butler Audubon.

Don also was among the guests on a show in 2014 that explored the extinct passenger pigeon, which was abundant in Indiana during the 19th century. The last passenger pigeon in the wild anywhere was killed in Indiana in 1902.



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And the party photos from HHL 14 keep coming . . .

. . .where Johnny Appleseed, Mayor Joe Hogsett, May Wright Sewall, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln, and lots of former show guests celebrated Hoosier History Live’s fourteen years on the air at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library on the evening of July 14. And former children’s television star “Janie” came as herself! Catering and bar by Black Plate Catering. Entertainment by Herron High School Strings and wandering fiddler Caleb Hawkins.

We'd like to thank the following recent individual contributors who make this show possible. For a full list of contributors over the years, visit  Support the Show on our website.

  • Florence and John Stanton
  • Aleta Hodge
  • Peggy Hollingsworth
  • Lorraine Phillips Vavul
  • Margaret Smith
  • Jane Hodge
  • Jeff Price
  • Joe Young
  • Sue and Craig Thomson
  • Richard Vonnegut
  • Jim Lindgren
  • Ken and Luan Marshall

Roadtrip: Johnny Appleseed’s Grave in Fort Wayne and more

Guest Roadtripper Hank Finken calls himself “a national theater company of one” and portrays a number of historical figures. One of his most sought-after roles is that of folk hero Johnny Appleseed, aka John Chapman, who lived from 1774 to 1845. Johnny Appleseed was an American pioneer nurseryman born in the East who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Ontario where there had been none before. Nelson will ask Johnny about the end of his life in Indiana.

Johnny Appleseed combo image

Nelson will then ask performer Hank Fincken to talk about Johnny’s final resting place in Johnny Appleseed Park in Fort Wayne, and any persistent myths of Appleseed lore. Did Johnny really wear a cooking pan as a hat? Did you know it took years to settle Johnny’s estate?

The annual Johnny Appleseed Festival in Fort Wayne takes place the third full weekend of September. Enjoy!  

Nelson Price, host and historian
Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Ryan DeRome, associate producer

Cheryl Lamb, administrative manager
Richard Sullivan, senior tech consultant
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Kathleen Madinger Angelone, Garry Chilluffo, consultants


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Another Hoosier History Live endorsement from a Hoosier in California . .

"Hoosier History Live is a bright spot in my media constellation. I also frequently forward your weekly enewsletters to friends around the globe. I may now be a Californian, but my Hoosier interest is endless. The podcasts and streaming are good tools. By all means, persevere!"

Tom Cochrun, former news anchor, WTHR-TV Channel 13 Indianapolis

"... a compelling and engaging project..." 

"Molly Head and Nelson Price are Indiana-based visionaries who have created a compelling and engaging media project with Hoosier History Live. Podcasts, website, enewsletter, and live call-in radio show; it’s all there!"

- Keira Amstutz, President and CEO, Indiana Humanities

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support!

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.Acknowledgments to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, The Indiana Album, Monomedia, Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Landmarks, Henri Pensis, Kielynn Tally, Genesis Brown, Leticia Vasselli, Heather McIntyre, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution at the yellow button on our newsletter or website. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in the show, contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org. Our media reach continues to grow via podcasting.

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