Category Archives: Lake Life

Life on and in Lake Champlain

Majestic Bald Eagle Over Lake Champlain 

Majestic Bald Eagle Over Lake Champlain

Majestic Bald Eagle Over Lake Champlain

Majestic Bald Eagle Over Lake Champlain

 

This photo of a majestic Bald Eagle flying over Lake Champlain was taken in Grand Isle, Vermont this morning (1/2/2017) by Matt and Betsy Dall.

 

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2016 a Record Year for Vermont Bald Eagles

Vermont Bald Eagles Nest in Record Numbers in 2016

 

2016 a Record Year for Vermont Bald EaglesIn 2016 bald eagles produced 34 successful young in Vermont, smashing the most recent record of 26 in 2013 according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept. The birds remain on the list of species protected under Vermont’s state endangered species law, but this strong year has conservationists hopeful for their continued recovery.

 

 

This year also saw record nesting success for several other bird species monitored by biologists and volunteers in Vermont. Peregrine falcons successfully raised at least 81 young birds in 2016, breaking the previous state record of 67, according to Audubon Vermont who monitors nesting peregrine falcons in partnership with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

 

 

2016 a Record Year for Vermont Bald Eagles and for Nesting Loon Success

Vermont also welcomed 80 new birds to the state’s loon population, breaking the previous record of 69. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies monitors the state’s nesting loons.

The mild weather this spring likely helped boost numbers of all three birds, according to John Buck, migratory bird biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

 

“The cooperative weather provided a bump to many species this year, but the continued recovery of these species is the result of a long-term effort by our department and our partners to conserve the habitat these birds need to thrive,” said Buck.

Peregrine falcons and bald eagles declined in the Twentieth Century nationwide due to loss of habitat, disturbance to nests, and the effects of the pesticide DDT. Laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and a ban on DDT have aided in the recovery of these birds. Loons similarly faced dramatic declines as a result of shoreline development and human disturbance of their habitat.

In 2005, peregrine falcons, loons, and osprey were removed from Vermont’s state endangered species list following years of conservation effort. Bald eagles have recovered in most of the contiental U.S. and have been removed from the federal endangered species list, but remain on Vermont’s state endangered species list as they continue to recover locally.

“Vermonters have played a huge role in the recovery of these species,” said Margaret Fowle, biologist with Audubon Vermont. “We work with a large number of citizen volunteers who help monitor nests, while the general public has aided in recovery efforts by maintaining a respectful distance from these birds during the critical nesting season. Paddlers have been keeping away from nesting loons, and the climbing community has been helpful by respecting cliff closures and getting the word out about where the birds are.”

2016 a Record Year for Vermont Bald Eagles supported by license plate sales

Vermonters can help researchers in their effort to conserve birds by donating online to the nongame wildlife fund at www.vtfishandwildlife.com or by purchasing a conservation license plate, including the new loon design plate.

 

 

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Injured Bald Eagle Released Back into the Wild

Injured Bald Eagle Released Back into the Wild

Staff with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences released a juvenile bald eagle back into the wild last week at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison, Vermont.

The young eagle was injured when it fell from its nest early this summer. A local wildlife photographer notified the landowner and Fish & Wildlife staff that the eagle was injured. The bird was initially treated at the Outreach for Earth Stewardship rehabilitation facility in Shelburne, and then transferred to the Vermont Institute for Natural Science in Quechee to complete its rehabilitation. Biologists attached special identification bands to the eagle’s legs before releasing it to the wild.

“This release is a great moment for eagle restoration in Vermont,” said Fish & Wildlife bird biologist John Buck. “This day would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of the many people who care deeply about restoring the bald eagle to its rightful place among Vermont’s wildlife community.”

Bald eagles declined nationwide due to loss of habitat and the effects of the pesticide DDT. Laws protecting eagles, such as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and a ban on DDT have aided in the recovery of the United States’ national symbol.

According to Buck, Vermont’s bald eagle population is in the midst of a strong recovery. He cites continued support from the public through funding wildlife programs like the Nongame Wildlife Fund and maintaining a safe distance from nesting eagles, in addition to the work of conservation partners, as critical to the species’ continued recovery in Vermont.

 

 

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Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

 

Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

Once again it’s time for the annual spiny softshell turtle beach cleanup day, and Vermont Fish & Wildlife is looking for volunteers to help on Saturday, October 22. Participants are asked to arrive at North Hero State Park between 10 and 11 AM, because the group may move on to another site by 11 o’clock.

Volunteers will help by pulling up vegetation on nesting beaches to prepare the turtle nesting sites for next year. They may also find a few hatchlings that have remained in nests underground this late in the year. In addition to threatened spiny softshell turtles, these nest sites are also used by map turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles.

 

Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day Spiny Softshell Turtle

Spiny Softshell Turtle

Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologist Steve Parren will have hatchling spiny softshell and other turtles on hand and will talk about his long-term recovery efforts with the species. Some hatchling turtles will be raised in captivity by the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center while they are small and are most vulnerable to predation. They will then be released back into Lake Champlain next spring.

 

“This is a great way to help conserve a threatened species right here in Vermont,” said Parren. “It’s also a fun way to learn more about the turtles and to see some recently hatched baby turtles.”

 

Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day Snapping turtle hatchling

Snapping turtle hatchling next to my granddaughter Gabby’s foot.
Photo taken in North Hero, Vermont by Molly McHugh

What You’ll Need For The Turtle Beach Clean Up

Participants are asked to dress in layers of warm clothes and to bring work gloves, a leaf rake, short-handled tools such as trowels, and their own lunch. Families and kids are welcome. The cleanup may run until 4 p.m., although participants can choose how long to help.

“This has turned into a very popular annual event for people interested in conservation,” said Parren. “We’ve had nearly 100 people show up to help in recent years, so we’re glad to see so many people care about wildlife.”

How To Get To North Hero State Park

To get to North Hero State Park, follow Route 2 north past Carry Bay in North Hero. Take a right on Lakeview Drive, just before Route 2 swings west toward Alburg. Follow Lakeview almost to the end until you reach the North Hero State Park entrance sign on the left. Drive to the end of the road always bearing right.

For more information, please contact Eric Lazarus at 802-658-8505 or lazarericus@gmail.com.

 

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