Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Amazing Chickadee

chicadees by adelaide tyrolBlack-capped chickadees are one of the most frequent visitors to our bird feeders in winter, but do we really know them? This common bird exhibits some remarkable behaviors and winter survival strategies.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the familiar “chicka-dee-dee-dee” call in the winter woods. Soon after spotting the caller, with its black cap and bib, you’ll often notice more chickadees showing up on the scene, all calling. This is known as mobbing behavior. The chickadees are investigating to see if you are a potential threat. The birds don’t usually get too worked up when they see a human. (In fact, individual chickadees can become quite tame around people that provide food.) But they do get alarmed when they spot a perched hawk or owl. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Hetzler: Go Ahead, Paint That Oak Stump

leaf and whole tree symptoms of oak wilt in a red oak treeEach time I present on invasive pests, it begins with a slide of Chicken Little, a character who fomented mass hysteria by convincing other animals the sky was falling. It’s usually good for a chuckle. Inevitably I then proceed to unload a barrage of bar graphs, pie charts, alarming statistics, and photos of mayhem wrought by the featured pest. A final slide shows the position of the sky, with arrows in the direction of gravitational pull at 9.8 m/s/s, proof that the sky is indeed falling. For some reason, fewer people laugh at the end. Go figure.

Threats to forest health posed by invasive species are no joke. Yet I think we educators often come across like Chicken Little, squawking about yet another threat to trees. It would be hard to blame the average person for asking themselves, gosh – how many times can the sky fall, anyway? » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Invasives Viewpoint: Add ‘Frozen Boat Permits,’ Educate Visitors

Adirondack Watershed Institute steward watches over the Second Pond boat launch near Saranac LakeAquatic invasive species pose a serious threat to the economy and the environment, not only in the Adirondacks, but in all of New York State.

The current debate over a voluntary vs. mandatory boat inspection program is the classic “carrot or stick” scenario. Forcing a mandatory program on the boating public in the Adirondacks, without even considering other intermediary options, is a mistake. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Invasives Viewpoint: Make Boat Inspections Mandatory

boat inspection station provided by adk explorerYes, everyone should be educated and make sure their boat is clean, drained and dry, inspected and decontaminated, to stop the spread of invasive species and preserve Adirondack Park lakes, ponds and rivers. The park is a national treasure we must protect for future generations, as our ancestors did for us. That means taking seriously our obligations to protect clean water, native wildlife, aquatic life, allowing people to live in harmony with the wilderness.

Some suggest that this could be done with education and voluntary programs alone, without a law, regulations or enforcement. We can all wish that were true, but it isn’t. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Evergreen Ferns Can Be Enjoyed Year Round

Christmas Fern by Adelaide TyrolWalking through the woods on a crisp December day, I spotted a flash of green among the rocks, snaking up through the snow. Greenery in a forest full of gray and white is a treat, and so I stooped to study the fern frond that was firmly attached to a rock.

In the Northeast, there are four common evergreen ferns: rock polypody (Polypodium virginianum), Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), marginal wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis), and intermediate or evergreen wood fern (Dryopteris intermedia).

Clearly this was a fern, and there are only four common ones to choose from, but how to tell which fern was peeking up at me through the rocks? Some clear differences help identify these evergreen neighbors. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

All About Antlers

antler by adelaide tyrolThe blast of a gunshot: a deep bass roar she feels in her chest, followed by a treble ringing in her ears.

The buck drops.

The hunter remains in her crouch, watching the animal’s last breaths through her scope. When he is still she rises, trembling from the cold and the moment, and approaches. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

DEC Announces Winners of I Bird NY Challenges

adventure new yorkNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the four top winners of DEC’s annual I Bird NY challenges for beginner and experienced birders.

DEC announced the annual I Bird NY Beginner’s Birding Challenge in May and encouraged children 16 years of age and younger to identify 10 common New York bird species. DEC also offered the I Bird NY Experienced Birder Challenge, requiring birders of all ages to identify at least 10 of 50 listed bird species found across New York State.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Poetry: Deer and Heron

Deer and Heron

I am in his power.
He flys away. Seconds
passed before he looked
at me. Before he decided
I could not be trusted.

Ashamed of everything
in his world, I look at the
deer in the same way,
only minutes before
it sprinted
into, what was for me a sad
and delirious neighborhood.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Friday, November 29, 2019

Owl Meet-up, Book Signing in Saranac Lake

Mark Manske and owlThe 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.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Adirondack Refuge: Where The Wild Things Go

Alex with Zeebie and Cree at Adirondack Wildlife RefugeIt’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.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

American Witch Hazel: A New York Native

American witch-hazel plant by Judy GallagherAs 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.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

British Soldier Lichens Provide Color

British soldier lichen provided by Environmental Protection AgencyBritish 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.


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Help Digitize A Trove of Bird Nesting Records

Blue Jay by David MagersSecrets 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.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Woolly Mammoths!

woolly mammoth by adelaide tyrolI 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.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Study Finds Gender Bias in Bird Conservation Plans

male Golden winged Warbler by Jack HruskaAfter 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.