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April 22, 2011 - Field Notes

Noteworthy News from the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources

Significant Notes

essential wetland habitat for bog turtles
DEC staff search for bog turtles in early
succession habitat found in Dutchess County.
~Photo by Mike Groll~
  • Landowners: A Key for Helping Wildlife and Protecting Important Habitat.
    Imperiled wildlife species like the ruffed grouse, golden-winged warbler, New England cottontail, bog turtle, Karner-blue butterfly, and many more rely on early succession habitat (ESH) for survival. Ranging from open fields and meadows to wetlands and young forests, these habitats continue to decrease in the New York landscape as mature forests naturally develop in its place. With a large amount of ESH on private land, private landowners have become a key component in helping with the management and preservation of these habitats. In late March, DEC wildlife staff joined many other outreach, research and management professionals at a workshop titled, Early Succession Habitat on Private Lands in NYS, which was designed to identify priority areas and develop working management plans that would help engage private landowners. Landowners can visit www.landownerdecisions.org (link leaves DEC website) to learn more about early succession habitat management, identify ways they can help, and view presentations from the March workshop.

    Since 2006, the Landowner Incentive Program has been an ongoing partnership with private landowners and DEC to help imperiled species like the bog turtle, short-eared owl, Northern harrier, upland sandpiper and many other grassland birds. Future efforts through this program will include habitat management for the Golden-winged warbler and New England Cottontail.
green eggs and sand logo
  • Attention Educators: Participate in the "Green Eggs & Sand" Workshop this June.
    Interested in those fascinating ancient horseshoe crabs that grace our Long Island shores each spring to spawn? If so, consider attending the weekend-long "Green Eggs & Sand" workshop coming to Long Island in early June! This award-winning education program is geared for educators as well as interested citizens, and addresses the need to educate students and the public about conserving horseshoe crabs and the shorebirds intricately connected to them. For detailed information and registration, visit www.nyhorseshoecrab.org (link leaves DEC website) and click on the "Green Eggs & Sand" logo, or contact Eileen Gerle at (631) 751-7863. The deadline for registration submissions is May 2, 2011.
Conservationist magazine cover

The Latest Conservationist!

If you haven't already checked out the April issue of the Conservationist, be sure to do so! In this issue, readers can learn about fish stocking, explore Watchable Wildlife opportunities in New York, tag along with biologists as they track turkeys, view nineteenth-century Adirondack art, and so much more!

Read the new issue online at www.theconservationist.org/

wild hog
  • Avoiding Conflicts with Bears.
    This month, a bear attacked a woman in Green County, NY as she tended to her garbage outdoors. DEC's policy for responding to human-bear interactions that threaten human life is to capture, remove, and eradicate the bear to prevent similar future occurrences. Unfortunately, simply trapping and relocating a bear elsewhere is ineffective as they will travel over 100-300 miles back to the site of capture. DEC considers removal of any bear regrettable; however, the primary concern is for public safety. In this particular case, no bears were captured and the trap was removed from the site. DEC's website has helpful advice and tips on discouraging bears from your home or camp. Also available is DEC's award winning "Living with New York Black Bears" DVD that can be picked up at your local public library or any DEC regional wildlife office. Please remember that the deliberate and intentional feeding of black bears is illegal, and the incidental, indirect feeding of black bears is also unlawful after a written warning has been issued by DEC.
  • Feral Swine (Wild Hogs) in New York.
    DEC has confirmed that feral swine are breeding in Tioga, Cortland and Onondaga counties. Feral swine are an invasive species, capable of causing ecological harm to New York's countryside. In states like Florida, Texas and Georgia where they are currently established, native plants, native wildlife, livestock and agriculture have been negatively impacted. They have high reproductive rates, can compete for food with native wildlife, and carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. DEC is currently developing strategies for eradicating feral swine from New York's landscape, but resources are not yet in place to implement all the needed actions, including removal of animals. More importantly, DEC will work with other agencies to identify ways to preclude feral swine from being released to the wild. Visit DEC's Feral Swine webpage for more details about this invasive species.
  • Walleye Poachers Caught.
    Earlier this month, six individuals were caught illegally taking walleye during the closed fishing season. DEC closes walleye fishing from March 15 to the first Saturday in May to protect the fish as they congregate in shallow areas of water to spawn. The subjects were fishing along the Catskill Creek and were rounded up by ECO's Glorioso and Lt. Beiter with assistance from NYS Police Officers Jon Quinn and Paul Rosenblatt. For snagging and taking 11 walleye out of season, the apprehended individuals may face fines totaling more than $4,000 and up to 15 days in jail. If you see any suspicious activity or someone violating an environmental law, you can report an environmental violation to ECO's.
walleye spawning
~Walleye photo credit: Dick Thomas~

Watchable Wildlife at Conesus Inlet WMA.

Consider visiting DEC's Conesus Inlet Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Livingston County this weekend as the walleye congregates in shallow waters to spawn. Also, make sure to grab binoculars for viewing eagles, falcons, marsh birds and other wildlife from the scenic platforms. For more information and directions, go to DEC's Watchable Wildlife - Conesus Inlet webpage.

2011 Spring Turkey Season

  • Youth Turkey Hunt This Weekend!
    (April 23-24)
    Don't forget to take out a junior hunter (ages 12-15) for a chance to learn and experience the thrill of a turkey hunt! This year also includes youth hunters in Long Island Wildlife Management Unit 1C. More information can be found at the Youth Hunt for Wild Turkey webpage.
  • Turkey Hunting Season Opens May 1.
    Get ready for the spring turkey hunting season from May 1 through May 31 for areas in upstate New York! For information to prepare you this season, including tips on a successful and safe turkey hunt and for rules and regulations, visit DEC's Turkey Hunting webpage.
  • Consider Participating in the Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey.
    Turkey hunters can help DEC monitor ruffed grouse populations while in pursuit of the wary gobbler this spring. The characteristic drumming sound of a male grouse is as much a part of the spring woods as a gobbling tom (male turkey). Visit the Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey webpage to print out a survey form and get more details. To listen to the unique sound produced by a male grouse drumming its wings, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website (link leaves DEC website).
baltimore oriole nest
A baltimore oriole's hanging nest is built
on a tree's branch from 6 to 90 feet above
ground. ~Photo courtesy of life.nbii.gov:
John J. Mosesso~

New York's Nature -- Bird Nests.

Early to mid-April brings the traditional start of the nesting season for New York's diverse birds. Suddenly, backyard birds such as American robins and Northern cardinals can be seen carrying nesting material, performing their traditional songs and calls, and actively defending their territory. Nest construction is nearly as varied as the birds and songs themselves; from the traditional bowl-shaped nests of American robins, to the Baltimore orioles' elaborate hanging baskets, to the piping plovers' adorned "scrape" nests in the sand, and to the bald eagles' impressive tree-top nests that often exceed six feet in diameter. This time of the year is the best time to grab binoculars or a spotting scope and check out nesting birds. By keeping your distance, you won't disturb the birds and you'll be able to observe their natural behavior. For more tips on bird watching, visit Audubon's Birding Basics webpage (link leaves DEC website).

Awards & Acknowledgements

Upcoming Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

A complete list of sporting season dates can be found by following the appropriate links:

Fishing (Freshwater and Saltwater)

--April 30, 2011--

-- May 7, 2011 --

  • Opening Day for Northern Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskellunge, and Walleye Fishing Across the State. View the Freshwater Fishing Regulations webpage for catch and size limits.

Small Game Hunting

-- May 1, 2011 --

  • Turkey Hunting Opens for all Upstate Areas (north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary).

Did You Know...?

heritage strain brook trout
A heritage strain fish often displays a white-tipped
dorsal fin, which is located on the back of the fish.

Brook trout, New York's official state fish, is the only stream-dwelling trout native to the State. In the Adirondacks, brook trout are also found in many lakes and ponds where they can grow to five pounds or more! Several these fish are "heritage" strains coming from waterbodies that have never been stocked before. These strains are important to protect for their genetic diversity.

Read about DEC's efforts on Protecting our Native Adirondack Fish and how you can help.

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