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News stories tagged with "wildlife"

A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State.  Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.
A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State. Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.

Willow Ptarmigan becomes an avian celebrity near Watertown

Carloads of birders from across the region have visited the shore of Lake Ontario, near Watertown, over the last few days hoping to glimpse a rare avian visitor from the Arctic tundra.

Late last week, Eugene Nichols was birding near Point Peninsula and found an all white bird that didn't belong in northern New York. Nichols contacted Jeff Bolsinger, a bird biologist at Fort Drum, who confirmed that it's a Willow Ptarmigan. Bolsinger says the bird normally lives only in northern Canada and Alaska. He says the sighting this week is the first documented sighting of a Willow Ptarmigan in New York State, and the second recorded in the lower 48 states in a century.

Bolsinger told Todd Moe he's not sure how the bird ended up this far south, but it's become an instant celebrity in the birding community.  Go to full article
A male bumblebee about to alight on an alumroot. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bumblebee_heuchera.jpg">Sjjubs</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A male bumblebee about to alight on an alumroot. Photo: Sjjubs, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How bumblebees keep warm

Bees need to be warm in order to fly. That's usually not a problem, since it takes millions of round trips to flowers to make a pound of honey. But should they fall idle long enough to cool down, bees fire up their wing muscles by shivering. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley, with more about bees.  Go to full article
Tiger. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cheddarcheez/">Phil Holker </a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Tiger. Photo: Phil Holker , Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Fulton County man fights to keep his big cats

MAYFIELD, N.Y. (AP) A state appeals court has given a Fulton County man 30 days to get rid of his cats: three tigers and two leopards.

The Gloversville Leader-Herald reports that the state Supreme Court Appellate Division on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling against Steven Salton of Mayfield. Salton claimed the town Zoning Board was incorrect in determining his animals were part of a business.  Go to full article
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs.  Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs. Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA

Want to keep an eye on bird nests this spring?

Lots of birds have begun returning to the North Country from their wintering grounds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is recruiting volunteers for its annual NestWatch citizen science project. Participants map any nest or birdhouse location on the NestWatch website. They report the species of nesting bird, when eggs laid, how many hatch and how many fledglings leave the nest.

Todd Moe spoke with NestWatch project leader Robyn Bailey says the nationwide program tracks and analyzes nesting bird data all year. She says sometimes NestWatchers see something remarkable that surprises scientists.  Go to full article
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdgovpics/11425470136/in/photostream/">Maryland GovPics</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Photo: Maryland GovPics, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY state gets $28M from feds for wildlife programs

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York state is getting more than $28 million from the federal government to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects.

That's the Empire State's share of the nearly $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute to state fish and wildlife agencies nationwide. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the funding Tuesday.  Go to full article
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo:<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/qmnonic/3460388725/sizes/z/in/photolist-6gMp1z-dn2KVz-dn2KSp-dn2KXZ-eiFs8t-duFntF-duLYgL-drk5Um-5Yhxmu-dcCkh3-dcCk8C-5YXb8i-9aQbFz-drUZ2D-5T7xSQ-8RDYrJ-9KkBzB-8RtU1y-8D47iy-66tKhv-dPGVZf-dPBjbx-w3v9G-dTDPUj-bLU5Lr-dPGW4s-dPBjd2-7Jh96c-619Z61-e2FAaR-e2MeLh-e4mU7b-e9Whvd-e3xogj-e3rH7v-e3xoVA-duFusg-5krqCe-7GcWHx-5krqFi-w9SBp-w9SBx-4DSarN-cBKotN-kAwSDH-9hTPeG-919pD8-kAwAT6-axfhZG-dBpK3Z-jjtUyz/">Matt MacGillivray</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo:Matt MacGillivray, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How birds talk: Whallonsburg will host bird language expert

We're just about two weeks away from the first day of spring, but if you look out the window there's still lots of snow and ice across our region. Birds are starting to return, though, and Connor Stedman is watching, and listening.

Stedman is a lifelong naturalist with years of experience sharing nature awareness and traditional skills with students of all ages. He's the director of the Vermont Wilderness School and teaches classes in bird language, wild crafting, and land stewardship around the Northeast. He'll give a lecture tonight at 7:00 at the Whallonsburgh Grange Hall titled "Bird Language through the Seasons" and then he'll lead a field class tomorrow, trekking outside to listen for winter bird language and watch for behavior.

During the lecture he'll review the basics of bird language and explore how birds journey through the seasons, and how they strategize to survive, especially during a tough winter like this one. He spoke this morning with Todd Moe.  Go to full article
Researchers release a tagged golden eagle in the Catskills. Photo: Matt Richmond
Researchers release a tagged golden eagle in the Catskills. Photo: Matt Richmond

How bad are wind turbines for Golden Eagles?

New York State has set a goal to generate 30 percent of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2015. And wind power will have to play a major role to meet that goal. But there is a problem: Turbines can kill a lot of birds.

Scores of birds of prey, including eagles, have died in the birthplace of the U.S. wind power industry, California's Altamont Pass.

As New York's wind industry expands, researchers are spending the winter tracking the East Coast's Golden Eagle population, hoping to help keep them out of harm's way.  Go to full article
Bird Feeder. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcwetboy/2478383232/">Jonathan Crowe</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Bird Feeder. Photo: Jonathan Crowe, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

New Yorkers urged to clean dirty bird feeders

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State conservation officials are calling for New Yorkers to clean their bird feeders, noting that about this time last year they confirmed bacterial infections in common redpolls that frequented feeders across 13 counties.

While no cases have been confirmed so far in 2014, the Department of Environmental Conservation says proper feeder maintenance helps prevent the Salmonella infections, particularly in late winter when songbirds are especially vulnerable.  Go to full article
Flying Squirrel. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/errrrrrrrrika/3150513527/">errrrrrrrrika</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Flying Squirrel. Photo: errrrrrrrrika, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Flying squirrels

Rarely seen during the day, flying squirrels don't actually fly, but use flaps of skin that connect their fore and hind legs that enable them to glide up to a hundred feet, between trees and from tree to ground.

Unlike their more earthbound cousins, they do not hibernate in the winter. And their preferred diet is lichens and mushrooms, rather than nuts and cones.  Go to full article
Snowy Owl.  Photo:  Larry Master
Snowy Owl. Photo: Larry Master

Snowy owls invade "south," cold affects waterfowl

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Reports from tens of thousands of bird-counting volunteers show a southern invasion of Arctic-dwelling snowy owls has spread to 25 states, and frigid cold is causing unusual movements of waterfowl.

Results are still coming in from the four-day annual Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in New York, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. Sponsors say the event, which ended Monday, drew participants from a record 127 countries, surpassing last year's 110.  Go to full article

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