Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wolf, Coyote, or Coywolf? New Science On Wolf Hybrids

eastern wolfUnlike Little Red Riding Hood, most of us can tell the difference between a wolf and Grandmother. But beyond that: our wolf identification skills are probably not as good as we think.

Consider the names bandied about the popular media today: gray wolf, red wolf, coyote, coywolf, coydog. Which of these are species? What is the real deal with hybrids? What does it mean for conservation? » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hiker Tells Story of Near-Deadly Bear Encounter

bedEric Spinner often hikes with his beloved Pippy, a little border terrier. The two of them were in the woods in the southern Adirondacks on the afternoon of August 11 when Pippy came running up the trail, a black bear in pursuit.

Spinner did what the books tell you to do: in an effort to intimidate the bear he stood tall and raised his arms. He also started shouting. The bear kept coming. When Spinner stooped to scoop up Pippy, he slipped and fell, and the next thing he knew he was wrestling a bear. At one point, he thought his life was over. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Survey Finds Birds Are Moving Uphill On Whiteface Mountain

American Robin by Wikimedia user MdfA survey of birds on Whiteface Mountain has found that many species have moved uphill in the past forty years, possibly in response to climate change.

New York State Museum curator Jeremy Kirchman and Alison Van Keuren, a volunteer, conducted bird surveys on the 4,867-foot peak in 2013 and 2014. Their work replicated surveys by two University at Albany biologists, K.P. Able and B.R. Noon, in 1973 and 1974. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Electroreception: The Buzz of Bees

TOS_Honey_beesImagine you had a power that allowed you to pick up nearby objects without actually touching them. Imagine this power could help you find and choose the best foods while shopping. Imagine you could use this power to communicate with your family. Bees have just such a power. It’s called electroreception, and it gives them the ability to perceive and respond to electrical fields.

Scientists have known since at least the 1970s that flying bees can pick up electrostatic charges as they move, but they didn’t know whether these charges had any practical value. Today, some suspect that electrostatic charge may be very useful to bees. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Man, Dog Injured In Bear Encounter

black_bear_mammalA 55-year-old Troy man and his dog suffered bite, scratch and puncture wounds after a run-in with a black bear in the southern Adirondacks Tuesday evening.

The bear incident took place at about 5 p.m. when the bear encountered the Troy’s man unleashed small dog in the Stewart’s Landing area of the Ferris Lake Wild Forest in the town of Stratford, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sandy Hildreth: Art As Storytelling

Hildreth1_bear_grassypd2015(1)Some Almanack readers may remember a couple of wildlife adventures I’ve written about (“The Cruel Art of Nature” and “Survival of the Fittest on the Pinnacle Trail”). I can’t say that I am obsessed with the cruelty of raw nature, but I am attracted to it – the primeval laws of survival. Some wild creatures have to eat other wild creatures in order to live. We humans used to be like that. This is the subject matter of two of my paintings being shown in an upcoming exhibit.

But not all my paintings are about life and death in nature – some are just encounters that occurred because, as an artist, I’m pretty observant. Especially in the natural world, I notice things that a lot of other people might just walk right by. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bobcats: Elusive, Powerful, and Beautiful

TOS_bobcat_hidingThe distinctively feline tracks through the snow in our woods last winter intrigued me. They would follow the narrow ski trail a ways, then meander into the trees or, sometimes, seem to disappear altogether.

There was no way, I thought, a house kitty was so far from home in the deep of winter, and besides, these tracks were a bit large for your average cat.

Then it hit me: these were bobcat tracks! » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Study: Adirondackers Support Return of Cougars

Julie Larsen Maher_8520_Puma_WTR_QZ_11 20 09_hr[1]A new paper from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) looks at the social aspects and public attitudes with regard to a potential mountain lion re-colonization in the Adirondack Park.

The paper finds that more than three-quarters of residents and visitors would support the idea should the animals return on their own.  Fifteen percent of Adirondackers polled said they had personally seen a mountain lion, despite the fact they were extirpated from New York State by around 1885. Some 80% said mountain lions still live in the Adirondacks, despite the paucity of evidence for an established population. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Impact of Stormwater on Adirondack Streams

Roaring Brook Falls 2014 by John WarrenIn peaceful streams, aquatic macroinvertebrates such as crayfish, stoneflies, and caddisflies travel over and under submerged rocks, foraging for other invertebrates, leaves, and algae. When rain falls, their world turns upside down. At first only the surface is disturbed, but before long, runoff reaches the stream and increases its flow many fold. Silt and sand blast every exposed rock surface. At peak flow, boulders are propelled downstream by powerful currents.

How do small creatures survive such crushing chaos? They hunker down. Water-filled nooks and crannies extend deep below streambeds and far beyond river banks. These deep interstices provide a safe haven even while turbulent water pulverizes the riverbed, comparable to a storm cellar in a tornado. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Understanding Spider Silk and Spider Webs

TOS_Spider_SilkThere is an all-natural material, produced at room temperature, that can be used to build homes, to make protective coverings, to hunt and trap, and even to swing through the air. It’s hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and waterproof. On a per-weight basis it’s stronger than steel and more elastic than nylon or kevlar.

What is this remarkable material? Spider silk.

If it sounds impossible that a single material can be used for so many purposes, well, in a way it is. Depending on how you want to count them, there are seven or eight kinds of spider silk in the world, and any given spider species may make as many as six different kinds. » Continue Reading.


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