Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Questions About Winter Bird Feeding

Back in September, I put out the bird feeder. I try not to do it too early because, well . . . bears. My feathered friends emptied it in hours. A couple of refills later and I decided I couldn’t afford to put out the buffet that early. The weather was warm; natural feed had to be available.

The birds, ever optimistic, still dropped by. I started writing dialogue for them: » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Boxelders: The Kissing Bug

boxelder bugHoliday parties are great for mingling with friends, but also for meeting new folk. Once you loosen up a bit, you might even let a charming newcomer kiss you under the mistletoe before the night’s end. But perhaps not if the new arrival is uninvited. And no one wants to be kissed without permission. Especially by a bug.

Chances are better than usual you’ll run into uninvited house guests this winter, and you can blame it on the past summer. Hot dry conditions in 2016 helped boost the population of some habitual break-and-enter offenders known as boxelder bugs. These oval, beetle-like insects are black to dark brown with red cross-hatch markings. Other than being a darned nuisance, these native party-crashers are completely harmless. However, they look very similar to a potentially dangerous insect, to whom they are related. (Different families, but the same order; you might say they’re kissing cousins.) » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Black Bears Seldom Attack People

black bearDespite all of the black-bear incidents this year, including many close encounters in the woods and in residential areas, there were no reported injuries to people.

Historically, few people have been injured by bears in the Adirondacks, although many have come extremely close to them. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Loon Rescue at Follensby Clear Pond

Gary Lee during a Loon rescue on Follensby Clear Pond in December 2016 photo by Mike LynchOn Wednesday, December 21, volunteers and staff from BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation rescued a loon that had become iced-in on a pond in the northern Adirondacks.

The roughly three-year-old bird was contained in a small area of open water on Follensby Clear Pond near Upper Saranac Lake. The ice was an estimated five inches thick, and the bird had become trapped while it waited for its winter flight feathers to grow in. The bird had kept the water open through its movements. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Summer of 2016 Was Bad News For Bears

black bear Jean Belanger was starting a climb at the Beer Walls in Chapel Pond Canyon when his girlfriend, Isabel Rodriguez, yelled up to him to come down right away. “That usually means I have a spider on my back,” Belanger said.

But there was no spider this time. Instead Rodriguez had spotted an approaching mother bear and its cub. After quickly descending, Belanger walked a short distance away from the bears and started yelling and clapping. “They didn’t make any aggressive moves toward me at all,” he said. “It was really the packs they were walking toward.”

Bear experts recommend that people do what Belanger did when they encounter a black bear in the woods: make a lot of noise to scare the animal away. Black bears are generally fearful of humans, unless they have come to associate people with food. In these cases, the bears can become bold but will still usually run from people. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 16, 2016

New DEC Fish and Wildlife Director Named

DEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has appointed Anthony Wilkinson to head up its Division of Fish and Wildlife.

A press release from the agency described Wilkinson as “a seasoned conservation professional with 36 years of experience as a wildlife biologist, zoologist, and researcher.”

Anthony (Tony) Wilkinson has been appointed to head up the agency’s four Fish and Wildlife bureaus and more than 350 employees whose missions are to conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Adirondack Loon Center Launches Fundraising Campaign for Exhibits

Loon on Lower St. Regis LakeThe Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation has launched a fundraising campaign at AdirondackGives.org to support the development of educational exhibits at its new Adirondack Loon Center in Saranac Lake. The Center opened in July, 2016 in the historic Tousley Storage Building, a revitalized storefront at 47 Main Street, and shares space with the new Adirondack Community-based Trails and Lodging System. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant Program

connect-kids-to-parksThe Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant Program is available to K-12 classrooms in Title 1 schools across the state to connect New York public school children with nature and New York State history by providing reimbursement grants to public schools for visits to a New York State park, nature center or historic site, a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Center or Fish Hatchery, or the SUNY ESF Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Study Details Recreationists’ Harmful Effects On Wildlife

dog-black-birdNewly published research in the journal PLOS ONE by scientists at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Colorado State University (CSU), and University of California-Berkeley finds that human recreation activities in protected areas are impacting wildlife, and more often than not, in negative ways.

Nature-based, outdoor recreation is the most widespread human land use in protected areas and is permitted in more than 94 percent of parks and reserves globally. Inspiring an estimated eight billion visits per year to these areas, outdoor recreation is typically assumed to be compatible with conservation. Increasingly, however, negative effects of recreation on wildlife are being reported. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Adirondack Winter: Hibernating Jumping Mice

Winter is the time when wildlife activity ebbs in the Adirondacks. Many residents of our fields and forests have retreated to shelters beneath the surface of the soil in an attempt to escape this season of low temperatures, snow and ice, and little if any food.

The woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis) is one member of our wildlife community that retires to the seclusion of a cushiony nest underground and lapses into a profound state of dormancy, known as true hibernation, for roughly 6 months beginning sometime in mid-October. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Invasive Species: House Sparrows in Winter

house sparrowHouse sparrows – those little brown and gray birds that flash mob the bird feeder – are common and easy to see. They’re quarrelsome, noisy, and when they’re on the ground, they move in vigorous hops that remind me of popcorn popping out of a pan.

They’re also an invasive species, scavengers that have hitched their wagons to humans, and at least on this continent, are having a very successful ride. Our farms, lawns, and grocery store parking lots provide all kinds of year-round foraging for these birds, and our structures provide them shelter. From gutter pipes to the bulb rims of traffic lights, house sparrows know how to make themselves at home in human-dominated settings, regardless of whether humans want them there. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Red-Backed Salamanders Go Underground

There are several types of migration that occur in nature. While this term generally brings to mind the long distance flight of birds and a few species of bats, it can also refer to the seasonal movements of numerous creatures that abandon their summer domains on the surface for an environment below the frost line.

As cold air becomes more intense, and nightly temperatures more regularly drop into the teens causing water in the uppermost layer of soil to freeze, most cold-blooded organisms that reside there, particularly the red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) must start to migrate down in order to prevent freezing to death. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Lake George Land Conservancy Adds To Sucker Brook Protection

lglc-putnam-protected-landsThe Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) recently acquired 72 acres in the Town of Putnam from Thomas and Mary Ellen Eliopoulos. The land, known as the Beaver Pond property, joins another 65 acres purchased from the Bain family in September as the latest additions in a focused effort to protect the 2,000-acre watershed of Sucker Brook, a major tributary of Lake George.

As one of Lake George’s ten largest tributaries, Sucker Brook drains directly into the lake at Glenburnie, and makes a significant impact on the lake’s water quality. Its protection provides a safeguard against excess storm water runoff, erosion of the stream corridor, and nutrient loading from neighboring sources of fertilizers and road salt. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tractor: Smarter (and Larger) than the Average Bear

My two previous Adirondack Almanack articles about black bears combined with Pete Nelson’s last Lost Brook Dispatch about a black bear named Tractor, started me thinking about my own harrowing bear experiences in the Adirondacks.

Unfortunately, none of my encounters was as exciting as being yanked out of an outhouse, or reminiscent of the black knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Nevertheless, one such encounter with a monster of a bear is interesting enough worth sharing. Given the bear’s large size and craftiness, it might even be the legendary Tractor. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Comments Sought On St. Lawrence County’s Largest Wetland

upper-and-lower-lakes-mapThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information session to answer questions and provide information on a recently finalized habitat management plan for Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in DEC Region 6, Town of Canton, St. Lawrence County.

The area is located on an important waterfowl migration route between eastern Canada and the Atlantic Coast. The upland portion of the WMA consists of woodland, small blocks of conifers, shrub land, grassland, and agricultural land.

The session will take place on Thursday, December 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at SUNY Potsdam, in the eighth (8th) floor meeting room, Raymond Hall. The meeting will begin with an open session with DEC staff; the presentation is at 7 pm. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions during the open session and after the presentation. » Continue Reading.



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