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community weblog - [ Animals ]

Hearings on wolves planned

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By SHERI MCWHIRTER
Record-Eagle staff writer

GRAYLING — Two of four public hearings about proposed federal delisting of wolves will be in Michigan, officials said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to create a distinct western Great Lakes population of gray wolves and remove that group from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.   more...

 



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Wolverine footage going worldwide!

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TRACI L. WEISENBACH, The Huron Daily Tribune

The Thumb wolverine has been getting quite a bit of media attention since a couple of years ago when he was discovered by a group of coyote hunters. The elusive animal is about to get even more widespread attention thanks to some rare video footage and the interest of a well-known national television network.  more...

 



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Wolf delisting begins in Great Lakes area

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BY JOHN MYERS
NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton on Thursday set in motion a federal plan to hand management of gray wolves in the Great Lakes states back to tribal and state resource agencies.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is restarting the process of taking wolves off the endangered species list in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, where wolves have far exceeded population expectations.  more...

 



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Watchers gain eagle-eyed skills

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By JOSHUA BOAK
BLADE STAFF WRITER


As they migrate from their winter havens in Venezuela to breeding grounds as far north as the Arctic, large populations of falcons, hawks, and eagles pass through northwest Ohio.

The Black Swamp Bird Observatory led a workshop yesterday to help volunteers identify and count the migrating raptors, or carnivorous birds, during the next three months.   more...

 



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Researchers find no sign of cougars

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By PATRICK SULLIVAN
Record-Eagle staff writer     

TRAVERSE CITY - They found signs of bobcat, coyote, red fox, river otter, mink, weasel, and red squirrel, but no cougar, National Park Service officials said.
      A fruitless search for cougars at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the latest chapter in a tug-of-war over whether cougars roam northern lower Michigan.
      Researchers used motion-sensing cameras stationed around the park, investigated reports of sightings and studied animal tracks, but found no evidence of cougars, according to findings released Friday.
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Love 'em or hate 'em, beavers are impressive

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Ann Arbor News

You've got to be impressed by an animal that chews through a six-inch tree in 15 minutes, builds canals to float logs from distant spots and slaps its broad tail on a pond surface so hard, the sound is like a gunshot.

Here are a few more facts about beavers:

  • In a year, one beaver may take out hundreds of trees.
  • Beavers construct dams as much as 10 feet high and more than 100 feet long.
  • Beavers destroy trout habitat when they dam streams, but the quiet waters they create attract ducks, geese, marsh birds, turtles, snakes, frogs and mink.    more...


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    Survey finds a record winter for bald eagles in Ohio

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    WTOL-TV Toledo

    OAK HARBOR, Ohio An annual count has found a record number of bald eagles in the Buckeye State.

    The state Division of Wildlife says more than 550 of the birds were spotted during its annual mid-winter survey -- almost 200 more than were seen last year.  more...

     



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    Birdland on the Niagara

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    By JAY BURNEY

    Each autumn, beginning in late November, a spectacular and globally important natural occurrence unfolds on the Niagara River.

    The event is the annual gull migration that brings as many as 19 species of gulls, in one of the world's largest concentrations of these birds, literally to our doorsteps. This is a significant ornithological event. On the entire continent of Australia, only three species of gulls have been recorded. In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, only 11 species of gulls have ever been seen. Remarkably, some of these same gulls that breed in the Arctic refuge travel through the Niagara River Corridor.    more...

     



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    Bush administration working on new plan to delist wolves

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    By JEFF BARNARD
    The Associated Press

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The Bush administration is working on a new plan for removing Endangered Species Act protections for thriving populations of gray wolves in the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies after deciding not to fight a federal court ruling that found the old plan illegal.

    Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson, in a statement released Tuesday in Washington, D.C., said he continued to believe the old plan was "biologically and legally sound". But, he said, the Department of the Interior would be issuing a new proposal "as early as possible in 2006."

    Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, a plaintiff in the federal case, said the center would not oppose removing Endangered Species Act protections for wolves introduced in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park, or those naturally occurring in northern Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. He said would oppose if the Bush administration tries to "gerrymander" the population boundaries again.   more...

     



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    Eagles close by

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    Ohio's bald eagles love Lake Erie marshes; you'll have to hurry for a look at habitat near Sandusky



    Beacon Journal staff writer

    It's no secret that Ohio's bald eagles love the Lake Erie marshes.

    In 2005, 52 of Ohio's 125 bald eagle nests were in the freshwater coastal wetlands along Lake Erie. That included eight active nests in Erie County that together resulted in 17 eaglets.

    One of those eagle nests is at the Community Foundation Preserve at Eagle Point, an 88-acre preserve operated by Erie MetroParks.

    Eagle Point, off U.S. 6 in Huron Township between Sandusky and Huron, is a place where, with a little luck, you can see bald eagles and their nests.

    It makes a great day trip for families and nature lovers.   more...

     



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    Ten threats: Saving an ancient fish

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    Great Lakes Radio Consortium - Celeste Headlee

    We've been bringing you reports from the Great Lakes Radio Consortium's series 'Ten Threats to the Great Lakes.' Lester Graham is our guide through the series. He says our next report is about an ancient fish that's been disappearing.

    Biologists have been concerned about a number of native species that have been disappearing. One of them is the largest fish in the Great Lakes. Over-fishing and gravel mining in riverbeds have wiped out 99- percent of the population of lake sturgeon. Sturgeon used to be common throughout the Great Lakes, but they're a rare sight these days. Celeste Headlee reports... biologists are trying to save some of the sturgeon's spawning grounds:    more...

    More information on sturgeon

    Sturgeon Project Background

    Non-profit group Sturgeon for Tomorrow



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    Warm weather cools duck hunting success

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    There's probably no better way to sum up the state of the duck season than the words of wildlife biologist Tim Reis: "It's not happening anywhere at the moment."

    Reis is the state Department of Natural Resources' wildlife supervisor for nine counties around Saginaw Bay, the heart of Michigan's waterfowl activity. His area saw a pretty fair start to the southern Michigan duck season Oct. 15, he said, but "things have slowed down substantially. That warm weather that came in from the southwest did it.

    "The teal and some of the local ducks moved south with the first cold front, but once it warmed up again, there was no reason for ducks north of us to head south."   more...

     



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    Geese not so graceful on ground

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    Perhaps no other Michigan bird has gone from being considered graceful to disgraceful in so short a time as the Canada goose.

    The Canada goose was a rare and welcome sight for Michigan bird-watchers in the 1950s. Biologists worried about the species' future.

    In 1962, Michigan received trapped Canadas from a semi-healthy pocket of birds near Rochester, Minn. By 1980, the geese -- a subspecies called giant Canada geese -- had gone from near extinction to an abundant population that still thrives. The restoration project -- aided by an environment that is cleaner and free of many pesticides from the '50s and '60s -- rivals only that of the whitetail deer and wild turkey.   more...

     



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    Cormorant control takes support

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    The swarms of large birds that are known for emerging on our Great Lakes and our waterways like locust, and doing just as much damage, are no feathered friends to Northern Michigan fishermen, outdoor enthusiasts or the tourism industry.

    They understand first hand that double-crested cormorants are behind the dramatically depleting fish populations.

    For more than 10 years, I have been working with local citizens and the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Wildlife Services to curb the devastation the double-crested cormorant continues to cause to sport and commercial fisheries and our tourism in Northern Michigan. While the cormorants are subject to the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, they are not controlled as an endangered species. Therefore, while it has made controlling the ever expanding population we see in our local communities challenging, it is not impossible.   more...


     



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    Cranes arrive right on time

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    If I didn't know Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife area property manager Jim Bergens was such a nice, honest, down-to-earth, straight-laced guy, I'd think that he purposely messes with my mind every October.
     
    This is the time that I call him each year to talk about the arrival of migrating sandhill cranes at the fish-wildlife area located between Lafayette and Michigan City on U.S. 421.
     
    There were reports that 20 of the huge birds with 7-foot wingspans arrived the first week of September, which would have been unusually early.
    "We were not able to verify it," Bergens said before I asked him the same question I have asked for two decades: About how many are there now?   more...
     


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