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February 8, 2013 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

A black-capped chickadee standing on a tree branch
Black-capped chickadees are
year-round residents in
New York State
~ Photo by Michelle Black,
courtesy of GBCC

Get Involved: Great Backyard Bird Count

If you love to watch birds, consider participating in the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) from February 15 through February 18. All you have to do is count the number of individual birds of each species you see for at least 15 minutes. You can do this from any location you enjoy viewing birds, whether in your backyard or at a favorite park or wildlife refuge. Lastly, you don't have to be an expert at identifying birds to participate.

Your bird checklist can easily be submitted through the GBBC website, or, new this year, through eBird online (External Link) or in the field with the "BirdsEye BirdLog" mobile app for Apple and Android smartphones.To learn more about the GBBC, get bird identification tips, receive downloadable participation instructions and more, visit The Great Backyard Bird Count. (External Link)

March 15: Applications Due for Pheasant Chick Program

DEC is now accepting applications for the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, which is open to anyone who can provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen and an adequate release site open to public hunting. Approximately 60,000 day-old chicks are hatched and distributed among approved applicant cooperators at no cost. The birds must be monitored daily to ensure they are healthy and have adequate food and water. Pheasants may be released when they are eight weeks old but no later than December 1.

If interested, contact a DEC regional wildlife office near you for an application and additional information. A Cooperative Guide (455kb, pdf) with details on the program's origin and the rearing and releasing process is available to download.

Lobster Management Areas around Long Island
Lobster Management Area 4 is
highlighted in the image above.
For a description, see DEC's
lobster regulations
~ Photo and map courtesy of NOAA

February 1 to March 31: Closed Lobster Season for South Shore of Long Island

Effective February 1, 2013, new emergency regulations prohibit the harvest of lobster from February 1 through March 31 in Lobster Management Area (LMA) 4 (see map). Permit holders have until Thursday, February 14 to remove their lobster pots or traps from the water. In addition, lobster traps without bait may be set one week prior to the season reopening.

This new rule is designed to meet the requirement of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) American Lobster Fishery Management Plan to reduce harvesting of the southern New England lobster population by 10 percent to allow the stock to rebuild.

To view all state lobster regulations, including size limits and pot and trap restrictions, visit DEC's lobster regulations webpage. For additional information, contact DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources at 631-444-0444.

New Publication Highlights 75 Years of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration

Cover image of USFWS publication

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released a new publication, Celebrating the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, 75 years of Conservation and Partnership Success, (External Link) to mark the end of the program's year-long anniversary campaign. The publication illustrates the history of the program and multiple conservation accomplishments since its inception in 1937.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has been the most successful conservation initiative in American history and would not be what it is today without you. Excise taxes from your purchase of firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows, fishing lures, rods and reels, hunting and fishing licenses and boat fuel have helped raise more than $14 billion for state and federal fish and wildlife management and habitat conservation across the United States.

Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Listed below are recreational sporting season dates for Saturday, February 9 through Friday, February 22 only. To view all fishing, hunting and trapping seasons, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage or the new Sporting Seasons calendar.

Waterfowl
Furbearer Trapping
Furbearer Hunting
  • February 15: Final day for several furbearer hunting seasons (use the links below to get season details)

Did You Know...?

Black bear in front of its den
A hibernating black bear's heartbeat drops by about
75 percent, but it can wake from a steady
snooze if disturbed
~ Photo by Karen Laubenstein, courtesy of USFWS

During a five to seven-month-long winter slumber, hibernating black bears can get all the nourishment and warmth they need entirely from their own bodies. Fat tissues break down to supply water and up to 4,000 calories a day, and muscle and organ tissues break down to supply protein. Great bulk, deep layers of fat and thick fur provide heat retention to keep them warm in their small den, which is seldom warmer than the temperature outside.

Find more fun facts about this large mammal on DEC's Watchable Wildlife: Black Bear webpage.

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