Located on the edge of Lake Ontario, this station is the first of five that are being installed on WMAs in New York this summer to track wildlife movement. [Read more…] about Tracking Animal Movement and Migration with Motus
Last July, Rich Kelley posted a most unusual photograph to the Vermont Birding Facebook group with the caption, “Someone bit off more than he could chew.”
The photo, taken in the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, showed a belted kingfisher weighted down by a mussel clamped firmly onto its beak. They were locked in an embrace that, absent intervention, would have been fatal for both. Thankfully, Rich effected a rescue. [Read more…] about The Kingfisher and Mussel: How They Met In An Unusual Death Grip
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has reminded the public to keep an eye out for wild turkeys, and to report their sightings. [Read more…] about Report Your August Turkey Sightings
I first became acquainted with my neighborhood red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) when it visited my bird feeders last winter. Sporting a black-and-white-striped back with a red nape, this medium-sized woodpecker certainly made a visual impression.
Its call was also memorable, a loud kwirr that sounded nothing like the other birds in my backyard. Over time, I’ve watched as it has become a regular feeder, as dependable as the black-capped chickadees and blue jays. [Read more…] about Red-Bellied Woodpeckers Move North
A half-century of controversy over two popular bird species may have finally come to an end. In one corner: the Bullock’s Oriole, found in the western half of North America. In the other corner: the Baltimore Oriole, breeding in the eastern half.
Where their ranges meet in the Great Plains, the two mix freely and produce apparently healthy hybrid offspring. But according to scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, hybridization is a dead end and both parent species will remain separate. Findings from the new study were published in The Auk. [Read more…] about Bird Study: Oriole Hybridization Is a Dead End
DEC’s nine cold water fish hatcheries collectively produce over 6.4 million fish annually. Unfortunately, a significant number of these trout and salmon are lost to a variety of predators in search of a “free meal.”
One predator that causes most fish losses is the great blue heron. At the Caledonia Hatchery it’s not uncommon to have upwards of 40 great blue herons surrounding the ponds during the spring. [Read more…] about Fish Hatcheries Battle Herons
On the whole, Europeans did alright naming New World plants and animals. In example, they called a large brown bat species the big brown bat – kudos for accuracy. A few labels missed the target, like the sunflower relative dubbed Jerusalem artichoke, even though it’s unrelated to either. Some names are partly right: the tufted titmouse has a tuft, but it’s a songbird, not a mouse. [Read more…] about Great Blue Herons: A Primer
There was a sucking sound as my rubber boot sank into the deep black muck. Naturalist Jon Binhammer and I were standing in the middle of a hardwood swamp in central Vermont.
Above us, dainty red flowers clung to the still-bare branches of red maple trees and fat black buds encircled the stems of black ash. Though the trees in the surrounding uplands had leafed out, the swamp was cooler, and these trees had not yet unfurled their leaves.
Bright yellow blooms of marsh marigold covered the swamp’s floor, growing out of mud and pools of water. Speckled alder shrubs, named for their spotted stems, were scattered about. In the distance we heard the “kuk-kuk-kuk” of a pileated woodpecker and the “toolili” of a blue jay. [Read more…] about Outside Story: Life In A Swamp
European starlings are one of the most common bird species in the United States. They are known for their stunning aerial displays (murmerations), but many observers consider them a curse.
Starlings aggressively compete for the nesting places of native birds; they can damage crops (grapes, olives, cherries, grain) and spread disease; they can mess up the environment and be a threat to aviation. The story of invasive starlings is part of a wider narrative that reflects both the ambitions and fears of the Victorian era. [Read more…] about Meddling With Nature: The Acclimatization Movement and Central Park Starlings
Each fall, thousands of broad-winged hawks soar across Northeastern skies in flocks known as kettles, on their way to wintering grounds in South and Central America.
The sky swirls with hawks bubbling up on thermals of hot air and then streaming southward. It is enough to take your breath away – all those raptors, more than you could imagine seeing in a lifetime, coursing across one stretch of sky together. [Read more…] about Broad-Winged Hawk Migrations