The Village Mercantile (formerly The Community Store) in Saranac Lake is set to host Adirondack Raptor proprietor Mark Manske for a book signing and a meet and greet with one of his owls on Saturday, December 21 from noon until 2 pm.
Mark Manske has written two mystery novels for youth centered around Marvin Stone, “Stoney,” and his buddy Bill Short as well as a mysterious owl, a modern-day treasure hunt, and a skunk. » Continue Reading.
It’s no secret that throughout time, we’ve been seeking a human – animal bond. The American Veterinary Medical Association defines a human – animal bond as a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and well-being of both.
Today we see this drive to understand and be part of this bond from anthrozoology to the average pet owner. The American Pet Products Association says that the number of U.S. households that own a pet is on the rise. They say about 68 percent of U.S. households have a pet, more than 90 million dogs and 94 million cats. People are also changing the way they view their relationships with animals, both in the home, and outside it. » Continue Reading.
As one of the only native plants that blooms in late fall and early winter, American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) can be found stealing the forest spotlight right now.
While most of our native bloomers turn in for a long winter’s nap, the streamer-like flowers of this plant are just starting to appear, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. These highly-fragrant yellow blooms typically last into December. » Continue Reading.
British soldier lichens are among the first wild things I remember being able to identify as a child. I loved spotting this lichen during forays into the woods – on a giant boulder or atop a decaying stump – its tiny, bright red caps seemed whimsical and somehow happy. I still love to find British soldiers, and they offer a welcome pop of color, especially during these days when the landscape is muted.
Lichens are fascinating things, really, the result of an intricate relationship between a fungus and an alga (or a cyanobacterium). Lichens are named for their fungal partner, so British soldiers are scientifically called Cladonia cristatella. This fungus has a symbiotic relationship with the alga called Trebouxia erici. » Continue Reading.
Secrets hidden in more than 300,000 index cards with hand-written information about nesting birds are gradually being revealed. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is partnering with Zooniverse, an online people-powered research tool, to digitize this valuable collection and create the largest database of nesting bird information in the U.S. This new effort is called “Nest Quest Go!” » Continue Reading.
I fall in love easy. I’ve been mad about river otters and star-nosed moles, and of course the venomous short-tailed shrew. But my first love was a creature that is almost mythical, a shadow lingering on the edges of time. There wasn’t much of it, merely bones, teeth, scraps of hair, and an occasional breathtaking tusk. Yet Mammuthus primigenius, the woolly mammoth, was (literally) my biggest love.
It all started at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, Vermont, where a 44-inch tusk was on display when I was a kid. Found in 1865 in a nearby bog, this tusk was my first introduction to this elephant-relative that roamed the hills and valleys of New England more than 12,000 years ago. In my adult rambles along the soft yielding edges of wetlands and paddles down remote rivers, I’m always searching for a tooth, a bone shard, or the treasure of a tusk. That is what mammoth love gives me — a wild hope. » Continue Reading.
After pairing up and raising chicks, males and females of some bird species spend their winter break apart. At the end of their journey to Central or South America, you might find mostly males in one habitat, and females in another.
Yet conservation strategies have typically overlooked the habitats needed by females, putting already-declining species in even more peril, according to a new study in the journal Biological Conservation. » Continue Reading.
Woolly bear caterpillars seem to be everywhere these days – creeping across the lawn, along the road when I’m walking the dog, hidden in the wilted cut-back of the perennial garden. Last week I found a woolly bear curled up in a shoe I’d left on the front porch.
These fuzzy, black-and- brown-banded caterpillars seem intent these days to get somewhere. Where that is – and how they know – is a mystery. » Continue Reading.
Your yard is part of the natural landscape and can offer food and cover for insects, mammals, and birds. Leaving the leaves where they fall adds nutrients back to the soil and provides great cover for insects seeking shelter from the cold and snow.
The leaf litter also provides an extra layer of insulation and protection for native, ground and cavity nesting bees and wasps. Some native butterflies and moths have even adapted their chrysalis to mimic the look of dead leaves and seeds. They will overwinter in the leaf litter and hatch in early spring, providing pollination services for early blooming flowers. » Continue Reading.
In light of recent news about the net loss of nearly three billion birds in the U.S. and Canada since 1970, advocates say it’s more vital than ever that citizen scientists monitor their own backyard birds.
Participants in Project FeederWatch at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have been doing this for decades. Reports from participants are building the kind of long-term database needed to detect shifts in the number and distribution of birds facing challenges from climate change, habitat loss, and disease. » Continue Reading.
Two new scientific studies recently released by Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (PSC AWI) and Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station (SSPRS) have detected continuing patterns of decline in boreal birds in the Adirondacks.
The authors examined avian community changes in lowland boreal habitats and the impacts that temperature and precipitation have on long-term occupancy patterns of boreal birds. Both peer-reviewed papers were recently published in the scientific journal PLoS One. The studies build on more than a decade of monitoring boreal bird populations in lowland boreal habitat. » Continue Reading.
Last year, I showed up to work on October 31 in one of my old park ranger’s uniforms, torn to fake-bloody shreds in an imaginary bear attack. One year earlier, I drank smoothies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because, ironically, my prosthetic vampire fangs were too fragile to sink into solid food. As a twentysomething undertaking a year of national service, I once asked my supervisor if I couldn’t make a few small modifications to my uniform and come to work on the last day of October as an “AmeriCorpse.” (He said no.)
In other words, I am a lifelong Halloween enthusiast. Costumes. Ghost stories. Jack o’lanterns. I love it all. » Continue Reading.
Hatched 30 minutes earlier
than the day before, I am placed
between a hot-water pad and a towel
to dry. Pecking an air hole in my shell
and beginning the ordeal, as the warm
air feels like Tegaderm on my beak.
Eight hours after hatching, I eat my
first meal-bits of lean quail raised
on my uncle’s farm. Feeding from a
puppet as to avoid being mistaken
by humans; in a week or so I will
see what it means to be wild again.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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