Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Preparing for Black Bears in Spring

black bearIt’s not too early for New York homeowners to think about bear-proofing their properties. While most of our bears are still in their dens, the mild winter weather has allowed some of them to stay on foot searching for food. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Where Do Snakes Go In Winter?

snakes in winter by adelaide tyrolDuring the summer, I often spy common garter snakes sunning themselves in my garden. As the snow piles up through winter, covering the landscape in cold white, I wonder where these warmth-seeking creatures have gone.

Without fur or fluffed-up feathers for insulation, how do these ectotherms survive the long months between autumn’s fading warmth and spring’s arrival? » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Some Declines: Ongoing Adirondack Fisher Research

Fisher provided by DECHarvest data suggests a decline in fisher populations in certain wildlife management units within the Adirondack Park.

To get a better idea of what could be driving these apparent declines, DEC initiated a study on fisher demographic rates in 2019. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Boxelder: A Tree By Any Other Name

Boxelder leaves and seeds courtesy USDAIf you know someone who goes by a slew of different names, it could be that they want to hide a bad reputation, avoid arrest, or both. In the world of trees, that individual would be the boxelder, a native member of Aceraceae, the maple family.

Boxelder is known by a dozen or more aliases, including Manitoba maple, ash-leaf maple, California maple, maple ash, sugar ash, and river maple. Because it is breakage-prone, grows fast, spreads easily, and can become a nuisance “weed” tree, its name is often preceded by a few choice words not suitable to print.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Glimpse of Adirondack Lynx

Canada Lynx by Jacob W Frank National Park ServiceBig cats such as panthers, tigers and lions are often featured in popular media. With their great strength, size, and seemingly endless confidence, these felines command attention. There are other members of the Felidae family however that go more unnoticed.

Bobcats (Lynx rufus), Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), although dispersed throughout most of the world, appear to share a similar ancestor, Lynx issiodorensis or Issoire lynx, which went extinct more than 12,000 years ago. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Life At 39 Degrees

ice fishing adelaide tyrolOn a picture-perfect winter morning last year, 20 Saint Michael’s College students and I visited Vermont Fish and Wildlife scientists for ice fishing at Knight’s Point on Lake Champlain. We drilled holes, baited hooks, learned about ice safety, identified fish – and even caught a few. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Adirondack Life Photography Contest Winners

Reverse Angle by Stefanie ObkirchnerAdirondack Life magazine recently named the winners of its annual photography contest. One overall grand prize was awarded, as well as 9 awards in Landscape, People & Places, and Wildlife categories. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Snowy Owls Are Tundra Terminators

female Snowy Owl by Joe Kostoss of Eye in the ParkThirty thousand years before Harry Potter immortalized the Snowy Owl in popular culture, our European ancestors were drawing them on cave walls. Snowy owls breed on the treeless northern tundra of Alaska, Canada and Eurasia, using scrapes on snow free boulders, hummocks or rises as nests. Males select and defend their territory, while females choose the nesting site.

In a typical year, when adult snowies consume an average of 1,600 lemmings each, half of their clutch of four to eight eggs will survive to adulthood.  In a banner year, when the constantly fluctuating lemming populations explode, the female may lay a larger clutch, up to 12 eggs, and all the chicks may survive, and many head south in what are called “Irruptions,” in search of territory or prey, which is why we may see some in the Adirondacks in Winter.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Don’t Make Fun of Possums

Possums courtesy US Fish and WildlifeThe opposum is the only marsupial living in North America, and they’re one of the oddest-looking, slowest moving mammals around.

They’ve become sort of a folk hero in America, because of their penchant for annually devouring an average of 5,000 of the lyme bacteria carrying black legged ticks, which make the mistake of hitching a ride on the the possum’s low slung body. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 24, 2020

Black Locusts And Invasive Species

black locust tree courtesy wikimedia user AnRo0002Sometimes I wonder if the Biblical plagues of ancient Egypt have lingered in one form or another. Blooms of toxic algae, which occasionally turn water a blood-red color, are on the increase. Gnats and lice have been supplanted by deer ticks, which I’d argue are even worse, and there is no shortage of hail in season. Frog outbreaks may not have occurred since Pharaoh’s time, but poisonous cane toads imported to Australia are now running amok there, decimating all manner of native animals. And currently, swarms of locusts are causing great hardship in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Here in the Northeast, we are blessedly free of the kind of swarm-feeding grasshoppers that continue to cause suffering in Africa. Nonetheless, locusts have become such a problem that in 2014 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) declared the locust a Regulated Invasive Species, meaning it “cannot be knowingly introduced into a free-living state.” In other words, locusts are only legal in an environment from which they can’t escape. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Rome Fish Hatchery Contaminated With Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussel courtesy USGS Archive, USGS, Bugwood.orgThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that invasive zebra mussels were discovered in late January 2020 in Delta Lake, which supplies water to DEC’s Rome Fish Hatchery. Subsequent water testing at the hatchery confirmed the presence of zebra mussel veligers (larvae) in an outdoor raceway.

The Rome Hatchery is one of DEC’s largest hatcheries with annual production totaling nearly 160,000 pounds of brook, rainbow, and brown trout. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Frozen Frogs Underfoot

frog in winter by adelaide tyrolEvery once in a while, as I’m tramping through the winter woods on my snowshoes, it occurs to me that I am walking on top of frogs.

In winter, our thoughts naturally turn to the species who remain within our sight – the chickadees at our feeders or the foxes who leave records of their travels in the snow – but any creature whose life spans more than one season, and who cannot fly away to warmer climes, must find a way to endure the cold. In February, our amphibians are all still here. They’ve just tucked themselves away for safekeeping. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 17, 2020

DEC Announces 2019 Bear Hunting Stats

black bearNew York State bear hunters took 1,505 black bears during the 2019 hunting seasons, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is reporting.

Hunters took a record 1,179 bears in the Southern Zone, while hunters in the Northern Zone took only 326 bears, the fewest since 2011.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weasels in Winter

winter weasel by adelaide tyrolOn a walk one winter afternoon, I spotted two white objects darting across a snow-covered field. White on white, they were difficult to identify at first. It was a short-tailed weasel chasing a snowshoe hare!

Apart from the snowshoe hare, short- and long-tailed weasels are the only animals in the Northeast whose coats turn white in preparation for winter. The smaller short-tailed weasel, also known as an ermine, is more common than the long-tailed weasel. It lives in a variety of habitats, is an adept hunter, and has a reputation for being curious and bold. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Appreciating Winter Spiders

snow spider by adelaide tyrolI have always admired nature’s mutineers: animals and plants that thwart the recognized system and do their own thing. As a child I was the sole member of my own duck-billed platypus club, endeared to this creature with the bird-like bill, beaver-style tail, and shocking ability to lay eggs.

Other charming eccentrics: the tamarack, a conifer that loses its needles every winter; male seahorses that give birth to thousands of live babies; and the short-tailed shrew, a tiny mammal that uses a lizard-like venom to paralyze its prey. » Continue Reading.



Kid next to water

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