Building lights are a deadly lure for the billions of birds that migrate at night, disrupting their natural navigation cues and leading to deadly collisions. But even if you can’t turn out all the lights in a building, darkening even some windows at night during bird migration periods could be a major lifesaver for birds. [Read more…] about Study: Darkened Windows Save Migrating Birds
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Syracuse-based Great Lakes Research Consortium (GLRC) has announced $121,741 in grant awards for five research projects to help restore and protect the health of New York’s Great Lakes and surrounding communities. [Read more…] about Great Lakes Consortium Awards $121K in Research Grants
On sunny, warm days, house flies hatch and buzz around homes and offices. These flies complete aerobatic stunts that easily evade human efforts at swatting or shooing. That aerial agility, so frustrating to the would-be swatters, is thanks to a pair of highly specialized sense organs called halteres. [Read more…] about Flight Control Science of Flies
On a warm, rainy April night a few years ago, I drove up our muddy, rutted dirt road through the mist, steering around the wood frogs hopping across the road. As I approached the vernal pool, there were more frogs in the road, so I parked to avoid hitting them and walked the rest of the way. [Read more…] about Salamander Mysteries: Complicated Genetics
No offense, but Franklin D. Roosevelt should maybe bug off with his assertion that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” because fear is good for gardeners and farmers. According to entomologists Nicholas Aflitto and Jennifer Thaler of the Cornell University-based New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSPIM), it can be harnessed as a weapon against destructive pests. Turns out it’s possible to scare harmful insects out of gardens and crop fields. [Read more…] about Fear and Gardening in Pest Management
As if today’s war on science wasn’t bad enough, it seems researchers have been courting further bad press by admitting they’ve spent countless hours on lunacy studies. To clarify, this research is on lunar effects on our behavior and sleep – I don’t know of any work being done to analyze sheer foolishness and irrational acts, the other kind of lunacy. Given the events that dominated the news this January, though, maybe that would be a fair line of inquiry. [Read more…] about The Science of Lunar Lunacy
On a clear mid-winter day several years ago, my student Sarah Wakefield and I pulled on snowshoes, donned backpacks, and headed up through Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont.
Our destination was Big Spring, which rises from Mount Mansfield’s bedrock before flowing east for 100 yards and entering a culvert under Route 108. When it emerges from the culvert, the spring water joins a stream fed by surface runoff and snowmelt. [Read more…] about Life In Groundwater Fed Springs in Winter
They’re devilishly intriguing, but fireflies, or lightning bugs as they are sometimes called, are angelic to watch. I have yet to hear of a single person who isn’t fascinated by the show that these glow-in-the-dark beetles put on. In the right location it can seem like a swirling, blinking Milky Way has come to visit. [Read more…] about Fireflies: Fairy Lights and Princesses of Darkness
After discovery of the corner to Townships 42 and 41 on the Totten & Crossfield Line, Adirondack surveyor Frank Tweedy and crew encountered beautiful but challenging terrain in their march southeast to Big Moose Lake, where they camped in a high beaver meadow by Ledge Pond (now Jock Pond). Tweedy recorded the following:
“A short distance beyond we met a cliff 70 feet in height and deep ravine and ledges. Climbing very difficult. Completed our work on a slope to the S. Went forward to the cutting party and camped in a beaver meadow. Saw species of Calamagrostis canadensis 5.6 [ft] in Length.” [Read more…] about Adirondack Surveyor Frank Tweedy: A Botanist of Distinction
In 1844 New York State published a volume on birds in Natural History of New York. Written by James E. DeKay with hand-colored lithographs by John William Hill, it was the State’s first attempt at a comprehensive scientific cataloging of New York’s birds. At the time about 301 species of birds were known to be present in the state.
Sixty years later another effort was made to bring together the State’s bird knowledge. The first of the two-volume of Birds of New York – Water Birds and Game Birds – was published to much acclaim. The book was a collaboration between wildlife artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes and author Elon Howard Eaton. Birds of New York listed an additional 100 species – several of which were then “well known,” but unknown in the 1840s. The book would serve as a model for those that followed.