Tag Archives: Wildlife

Family of Canada Geese swimming in Lake Champlain

Family of Canada Geese swimming in Lake Champlain at Alburgh, Vermont

Family of Canada Geese swimming in Lake Champlain

I grabbed a quick shot of this family of Canada Geese swimming in Lake Champlain at Alburgh, Vermont on June 15, 2017.

 

 

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Watch out for Turtles

Keep an Eye Out for Turtles

Watch out for Turtles

Springtime means turtles on are on the move. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking for the public’s help in keeping them safe. Female turtles are looking for places to deposit their eggs, sometimes choosing to lay along the shoulders of roads, which can end in tragedy.

 

“Turtles often cross roads as they search for a nest site,” said Steve Parren, biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “They are a slow-moving animal in today’s fast-paced world, so they have a tough time making it safely across the road. Turtles grow slowly and live a long time, so losing a mature breeding female is a huge loss to the turtle population.”

Turtle nesting activity peaks from late May through June. At this time of year, drivers should keep an eye out for turtles in the road, especially when driving near ponds and wetlands.

To decrease the number of turtles killed by vehicles, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has collected data to find stretches of road that are hot-spots for wildlife migrations. They are working closely with VTrans, and with Jim Andrews from the Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas, among other partners.

 

“When you spot a turtle in the road, you may be able to help it across. First be sure you’re in a safe spot to stop and get out of your car, as human safety comes first,” said Andrews. “If you’re going to move a turtle off the road, always move it in the direction it was traveling. They know where they’re going.”

 

Watch out for Turtles - Snapping turtle

Snapping turtle

According to Andrews, most turtles can simply be picked up and carried across the road. However, if the turtle has no colorful lines, spots, or other markings, it is probably a snapping turtle, so people should not get too close to the animal to avoid being bitten. Snapping turtle’s necks are nearly as long as their shell. Instead, people should push the turtle across the road with an object like a shovel or broom.

 

Andrews is also asking paddlers, boaters, and anglers to report turtle sightings throughout the state to the Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas website at vtherpatlas.org. The reports help conservationists keep track of the status of these species so they can act if a species appears in decline.

“Sending in a report is quick and easy,” said Andrews. “Just snap a photo or two of the turtle, and submit your observation via the website or email. We’re constantly impressed with Vermonters’ commitment to conservation and willingness to help us save turtles.”

Observations can be submitted to the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas online at vtherpatlas.org or jandrews@middlebury.edu.

 

 

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Watch Out for Frogs, Salamanders by Roads

Watch Out for Frogs, Salamanders by Roads

 

Be On the Lookout for Frogs, Salamanders by Roads

 

A great wildlife migration is happening now in Vermont, and it’s taking place right at our feet.

You may have already heard the spring peepers or wood frogs calling in your backyard. Or perhaps you’ve noticed salamanders crawling over rocks in a nearby stream. Amphibians are on the move, but their spring breeding migration can too often become deadly.

Amphibians migrate by the thousands each spring in search of breeding pools. This migration often takes them across roads and highways where they are killed by cars, which contributes to the species’ decline in Vermont, according to biologist Jens Hilke with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

“Frogs and salamanders become active on rainy spring nights,” said Hilke. “On these nights, drivers should slow down on roads near ponds and wetlands, or try to use an alternate route. These amphibian ‘hotspots’ can lead to the death of thousands of animals on a single night.” 

 

Hilke is asking drivers to report these hotspots, or areas with large numbers of frogs and salamanders that cross the road all at once. They can contact the Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas by emailing Jim Andrews at jandrews@middlebury.edu.

“We work hard to identify these hotspots and to mitigate the problem whenever possible to help give these animals a better chance of survival,” said Hilke. 

The Fish & Wildlife Department is working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation to include culverts and wildlife barriers in road construction plans to allow wildlife, from frogs to moose, to more safely cross the road. The town of Monkton has completed a highway project aimed at providing amphibians with a safe way to cross under the road. 

Conservation officials and volunteers also work together on rainy spring nights to slow traffic and manually move amphibians across the road.

Vermonters who want to give to the Fish & Wildlife Department’s work to help frogs and amphibians can donate to the Nongame Wildlife Fund on line 29 of their state income tax form.

 

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Land Donation Expands Dead Creek WMA in Addison County, VT 

Land Donation Expands Dead Creek WMA in Addison County, VT

Popular Vermont bid-watching and waterfowl destination to increase by 37 acres

 

 

One of Vermont’s premiere wildlife hotspots, the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison has expanded according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. A donation by Dubois Farm Inc of Addison will expand the property by 37 acres, bringing the property up to a total of 2,895 acres.

 

“We are grateful to the Dubois Farm for donating this land,” said Louis Porter, Vermont’s commissioner of the Fish & Wildlife Department. “Their generosity contributes to a growing legacy of conservation that will last for generations.”

 

The new parcel hosts rare and ecologically important clay-plain forest. These forests contain oak and hickory trees that attract turkeys, gray squirrels, and deer, making them popular destinations for hunters. Because the forest is next to wetlands, it is particularly important for amphibians such as frogs, toads, and salamanders.
Land Donation Expands Dead Creek WMA in Addison County, VT

“Birdwatchers and hunters have coveted access to this property for many years,” said Porter. “The diversity of bird species found in this forest is incredible for bird enthusiasts. Previous owners closed the land to the public to conduct private turkey hunts. Now, any hunter may now access the land to try their luck at calling in a turkey.”

For almost forty years the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has partnered with The Nature Conservancy in Vermont and local landowners to place a conservation easement on this property after recognizing the forest’s significance to wildlife. That project began a multi-decade partnership between the two organizations that has resulted in many conservation success stories.

 

Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) are conserved lands throughout the state of Vermont, owned by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. They are managed for fish and wildlife habitat and wildlife-based recreational access. Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area hosts 200 bird species, and is one of the most popular Vermont destinations for bird-watchers and waterfowl hunters.

 

Vermont has more than 80 state wildlife management areas covering well over 100,000 acres. Management activities on these areas vary by habitat type, but perhaps none are more intensively managed than wetland wildlife management ares. Although wetland areas like the Dead Creek WMA in Addison look often like they do not need any improving, behind the scenes state biologists and volunteers work year-round to make them as attractive and beneficial to wildlife as possible.

 

Landowners wishing to donate land to be permanently conserved are encouraged to contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Anyone can donate to the department’s land conservation efforts by purchasing a 2017 Vermont Habitat Stamp, available at vtfishandwildlife.com.

 

 

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Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Osprey are now much more common in Vermont thanks to recovery efforts supported by the Non-game Wildlife Fund.

Vermonters interested in helping conserve wildlife should consider donating to the Non-game Wildlife Fund on line 29 of their Vermont income tax form this tax season. The fund helps conserve some of Vermont’s most threatened wildlife species such as bald eagles, lynx, and bats.

Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Peregrine Falcon

Donations are leveraged by a match from a federal grant, meaning that a $50 donation brings up to $150 to Vermont wildlife conservation. This has helped recovery efforts for Vermont’s bat species that were recently hit with a devastating fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome. These donations also help conserve declining pollinators such as butterflies, beetles and bees, which are critically important to agriculture and ecology.

 

Biologist Steve Parren manages non-game wildlife projects for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. He works on the recovery of Vermont’s rare turtle species, including the state endangered spiny softshell turtle. Parren monitors and protects the turtle’s nests, and each winter he raises dozens of baby turtles in his own living room before releasing them back into Lake Champlain in the spring.

“The Nongame Wildlife Fund has been responsible for some of the great conservation success stories in Vermont,” said Parren. “Thanks to the generous donations of thousands of Vermonters, we are working to restore many of the iconic species of our Green Mountain State.”

Past donations to the Non-game Wildlife Fund have helped recover peregrine falcons, osprey, and loons in Vermont. “It’s clear that Vermonters care deeply about wildlife,” said John Buck, a wildlife biologist who works to recover the state’s endangered bird species. “These donations demonstrate that the people of our state share a strong commitment to conservation.”

 

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