Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Outside Story: Smart Birds Stash Stores, Thwart Thieves

We know that squirrels make the most of fall’s plenty by hoarding nuts for the winter, but the fact that birds also store, or cache, food goes largely unappreciated. Through clever observation and experiments, biologists have found that food caching (from the French cacher, “to hide”) has developed to a high art in some birds.

Take the chickadee, for instance. Chickadees put tens of thousands of food items a year into short-term storage. They usually retrieve and eat the food in the space of several days. Each food item is cached in a different place to make it difficult for thieves to steal all the food at once. When hiding a new item, they remember their previous storage sites and avoid placing caches too close together.
» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cabin Life: Sights And Sounds

The silence out here can be both comforting and disconcerting.  It’s not that there’s no noise, because there can be a lot.  But often, it’s just the wind in the trees.

There was one neighborhood in Jacksonville where I heard sirens every night.  For two years.  A woman had her purse snatched in broad daylight, and she was a cop.  I heard gun shots a few times and more domestic disputes than I care to remember.  I heard kids crying for hours on end and guys blasting rap at four in the morning.  There was a lot of noise in that place.  The apartment I got after that one was a few blocks from the ocean and on Sunday mornings, when everyone else was at church and Pico and I played Frisbee, I could clearly hear the rolling sound of the ocean. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Birding: Project Feeder Watch This Winter

The 26th season of Project FeederWatch begins November 10, and participants are needed more than ever. By watching their feeders from November through April and submitting their observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, bird watchers make it possible for scientists to keep track of changing bird populations across the continent. New or returning participants can sign up anytime at www.FeederWatch.org.

After unusual winter weather in some parts of the country last season, many participants found themselves asking, “Where are the birds?”
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A New Research Approach For Bicknell’s Thrush

A new effort to protect the rare Bicknell’s Thrush by an alliance of North American scientists and conservationists is taking the unusual step of funding a team of Dominican biologists to work in the migratory songbird’s Caribbean wintering habitat.

The Bicknell’s Thrush Habitat Protection Fund at the Adirondack Community Trust has awarded a $5,000 grant to Grupo Jaragua, whose biologists will study the thrush in forested mountains on the Dominican Republic’s border with Haiti. The grant recognizes a need to protect the songbird across its entire range, particularly in its threatened winter destinations. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scientists Study Mercury Pollution With Dragonfly Larvae

The Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC) recently completed collections of dragonfly larvae in acid rain sensitive Adirondack surface waters in a new study of mercury pollution.

ALSC staff assisted Dr. Sarah Nelson of the University of Maine Mitchell Center and School of Forest Resources, and collaborators at the SERC Institute, Maine Sea Grant, the USGS Mercury Research Lab, and Dartmouth College, who have been developing the concept of using dragonfly larvae as bio-sentinels for mercury concentrations in northeast lakes and streams. Dragonfly larvae or immature dragonflies live in the water for the first year or years of their lives. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Report: 2012 State of the Adirondack Park

The Adirondack Council, an independent advocate for the Adirondack Park founded in 1975, has issued it’s 2012 State of the Park report.  “The Adirondack Park was subjected to a barrage of extreme outside influences over the past 12 months, some of which devastated small communities and public natural resources, while others brought unprecedented good news to park residents and visitors,” a Council issued press release said.

The annual State of the Park Report reviews of the actions of local, state and federal government officials that the Council believes have helped or harmed the Adirondack Park over the past year. The illustrated, 18-page review is the Council’s 27th annual State of the Park report. A copy of the report is available online. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Adirondack Wildlife: Skunk on the Prowl

The rainy weather that has persisted over the past month has returned the water in our rivers, lakes, and ponds to levels typical for this time of year, rejuvenated the trees and shrubs in our forests and the grass and weeds in our lawns.

It has also restored the moist soil environment necessary for the continued activity of numerous invertebrates, terrestrial amphibians, and other creatures that reside on the ground and in the dirt. Despite several frosts and the record cold this past Friday night that temporarily froze the surface of the soil, many of the organisms that exist in the ground remain active well into the autumn.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Outside Story: Decline of American Kestrels

One autumn day, 15 years ago, I found myself perched on a ladder that was leaning against a highway sign on Interstate 89 somewhere in Vermont. There was a wooden box clamped to one of the sign poles at least 15 feet off the ground, although fear may have exaggerated that memory. I was providing a little autumn house-keeping for one of those nest boxes so it’d be ready when the kestrels returned to breed the next spring.

The box was one of 10 kestrel nest boxes then deployed along the interstate by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, or VTrans. It’s a feel-good project started in 1995 with $40, some scrap wood, and plenty of volunteer hours from VTrans employees, who built the boxes on their own time. Since then, about 90 kestrels have fledged and four orphaned young were fostered in the boxes. That’s a lot of bang for the buck, or rather, a lot of birds for the box.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Outside Story: Peregrine Falcons

When asked to name the fastest animal on earth, many people will respond “cheetah.” But it is the peregrine falcon – a cliff-dwelling raptor –that holds that title with the ability to reach speeds of 200+ MPH as they stoop (dive) in flight. (The cheetah tops out at a mere 70 MPH).

Equally remarkable is the fact that this speed demon of the skies was nearly wiped out 50 years ago; its recovery ranks among the great success stories of conservation biology and endangered species management.

Historically, the eastern peregrine falcon population was centered in New England and the Adirondack Mountains, ranging south along the spine of the Appalachians to western Georgia. In 1940,the population was estimated at 350 pairs; by the mid-1960s, the species was completely gone from the region, a victim of the devastating pesticide DDT. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

DEC Answers Questions About Death of Ausable Moose

State officials felt they had no choice but to kill an injured moose that had been hanging out in the Ausable River in Wilmington Notch, according to David Winchell, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

“The primary factor was its deteriorating condition,” Winchell said this morning. “It was not able to move out of there on its own, and the likely outcome would have been its death anyway.”

The bull moose showed up last weekend in a steep ravine on the West Branch of the Ausable. Over the next several days, motorists would stop to gawk at the animal, creating a traffic hazard along the narrow Route 86 corridor. On Saturday, a DEC wildlife technician shot the moose with a paintball gun to try to get it to leave. Although favoring its left leg, the moose was able to move into nearby woods. At the time, DEC thought the animal stood a good chance of recovery. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Native Adirondack Wetlands:
Cardinal Flower And Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

ruby-throated hummingbird and cardinal flowerThere is nothing like the scarlet red color of a cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis, in bloom along a stream bank or lakeshore right now in late summer.  If you have been out and about in the last month or so, paddling, boating, or hiking, you might have been lucky enough to happen upon this stunning beauty during your outing.

Besides being one of my favorite flowers, it is also a favorite of the ruby-throated hummingbird. And while as many as 19 species of plants found in the Eastern US have probably  co-evolved with hummingbirds, the cardinal flower is the most well-known.  The range of the ruby-throated hummingbird and the cardinal flower are very similar, demonstrating how closely the two are linked. The long tubular flowers of cardinal flower and the long, narrow bill of a hummingbird are a perfect match.  By reaching all the way down into the bottom of the five-petaled flower in search of nectar, the hummingbird gets food, and in return, the cardinal flower gets pollinated. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Adirondack Moose On The Move

Mid to late September in the Adirondacks is marked by hints of bright autumn colors, a lack of biting bugs, the reappearance of the grayish-brown coat of dense winter fur on the white-tail deer, and the greatly increased chance of seeing a moose. Although moose are massive in size and might appear to be easy to spot, these giants of the Great Northwoods mostly confine their activities to densely wooded areas in which visibility is low and human travel is severely limited. Additionally, moose prefer to forage during periods of twilight, when their chocolate-brown coat causes them to blend into a dark background.

Around the time of the autumn equinox, moose experience an awakening reproductive urge. This powerful drive often causes individuals to abandon the setting in which they routinely forage and begin to seek out members of the opposite sex. While these long-legged beasts are known to travel a dozen miles or more during a single morning or evening when on the search for food, moose periodically wander much further in the weeks between Labor Day and Columbus Day as they try to locate breeding partners. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Great Adirondack Moose Festival This Weekend

The Great Adirondack Moose Festival will be  held in Indian Lake, this weekend, September 22 and 23, 2012.  The Moose Festival features programs, games, contests, exhibitions, guided tours, shopping. The half-ton Moose is making a come-back in the Adirondacks, one may even spot a moose during the weekend.

The second annual Moose Calling Contest will be held with fun and sometimes bizarre and authentic hooting and hollering moose calls from adult and children contestants. Naturalist and author Ed Kanze will return as the contest master of ceremony and one of the official judges. The contest will be limited to two categories, adult and children and will be held at the Indian Lake Theater. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Birding: The Great Warbler Migration

For most birds, autumn is a time of migration. As is the case in spring, not all species engage in their bouts of long distance travel at the same time; some are known for heading out early while others linger in the region for several additional months before starting their journey.

Among the birds that are quick to depart the North Country are the warblers, a large group of small, delicate creatures that abound in the vast expanses of forests when daylight is at a maximum and bugs are at their peak. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Frost Advisory Issued For Adirondacks

The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for tonight (Monday, Sept 10) for the southern and western Adirondacks, including Northern Warren, Hamilton, Herkimer, and Fulton counties and Southeastern St. Lawrence, Southern Franklin, and Western Essex counties.  A frost advisory means that frost is possible. Temperatures are expected to be generally in the mid to lower 30s. Near freezing temperatures and areas of frost will damage unprotected crops and tender vegetation and sensitive outdoor plants may be killed if left uncovered.

Tom Kalinowski wrote about the impact of the first frost on Adirondack plants and wildlife last year.

Ellen Rathbone wrote about the impact on frost on garden plants in 2009.

The Almanack frequently posts the latest weather advisories on our Facebook Page.

Read more about Adirondack weather here.



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