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community weblog - [ Animals ]

Warm weather threatens moose in Minnesota

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BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA, Minn. — The moose calf didn’t seem to want to get out of the water.

But its mother, perhaps concerned about approaching boats, decided it was time to leave. She waded back into the reeds along the Sea Gull River and nudged her light brown offspring. Then she bounded through the thick brush into the forest, her calf struggling to keep up. In moments, both were gone. more...



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OUTDOORS: A bird in the hand

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We're standing near the lakeshore at Kaiser-Manitou Beach Banding Station, roughly 15 miles west of Rochester. In front of me, Dr. John Waud, professor of environmental science at Rochester Institute of Technology, gently extricates a bird - a brown, spotted thrush called a veery - from the fibers of a tall mist net (which looks something like a volleyball net with fine, almost invisible mesh).



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The bald eagle population is expanding rapidly

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Two weeks ago, while canoeing on a remote lake in the Adirondacks, my wife and I spotted an adult bald eagle feeding on the shoreline. It reminded me of another bald eagle that kept a close eye on a small skiff bearing me and David Duval, my brother-in-law and an avid fisherman, while we were trolling for trout on pristine Mohun Lake in British Columbia this summer. That eagle was definitely waiting for us to catch a fish so that it could steal it.  more...

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Governments killing once-endangered cormorants

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ALPENA, Mich. — The mostly bird-free skies above Lake Huron's Thunder Bay during the recent Brown Trout Festival were a welcome sight to anglers who have spent years competing — often unfavorably — with double-crested cormorants for their catch.

Federal and state agencies have waged war in recent years against the large, black waterfowl notable for their orange facial skin and hooked bills. Cormorants can dive up to 25 feet deep and stay under water more than a minute, gorging on yellow perch, bass and other species. Fish farmers in the Mississippi Delta say they devour $5 million worth of catfish fingerlings a year.  more...



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Lake Erie water snake making comeback

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A Lake Erie water snake basks in the sun on Kelleys Island.In 2003, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a five-year plan to bolster the small population of Lake Erie water snakes, officials hoped the species would recover by 2013.  more...



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Shorebirds flock to feed on Lake Erie wetlands

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The world's most formidable long-distance fliers are making pit stops in Northern Ohio this month and next.

Shorebirds passing through Ohio generally nest on the Arctic tundra and winter in South America. But even the undisputed marathon champions of the animal kingdom can't complete their migratory trek without taking some breaks for rest and refueling along the way.

That's why wetlands, shorelines, fields and mudflats teeming with aquatic insects, crustaceans and invertebrates are so vital to their survival.  more...



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Ohio's bald eagles have healthy year

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Bald eagles enjoyed another good year in Ohio.

Ohio had a record 215 nests, of which 113 were known to produce eaglets, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Based on reports from wildlife biologists and volunteers, Ohio estimates a minimum of 197 eaglets were hatched from nests in 52 counties, including Medina, Stark and Cuyahoga.

Ohio had a record 222 eaglets hatched last year.  more...



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Piping plovers reclaim Long Island in the Apostles as home

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Male piping ploverLONG ISLAND, Wis. – They are Wisconsin’s rarest bird, and they’re only here.

The first proof is the distinctive “peep’’ song. Then we catch a flash of white on the sand and there they are — running in fits and spurts, combing the beach for bugs, keeping their distance from human gawkers.   more...



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City looks to scare gulls off

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Jeff Schukow of the Great Lakes Avian Pest Control shows his falcon drone at the South Pier District. Photo by Josh Lintereur/The Sheboygan PressThe City of Sheboygan has begun using remote-controlled drones, noisemakers and other devices to scare off the swarms of gulls that have been congregating at the South Pier District this summer.

City officials hope the effort will prompt the pesky birds to flee the popular tourist destination located on the east side of the Sheboygan River, where rooftops, walkways, handrails and cars have been blanketed in gull droppings. more...



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Endangered eel moving on up

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At the Saunders Generating Station in Cornwall a 300-metre extension has been added to the pre-existing eel ladder.

During the 1980s and 1990s the American eel was one of the top three species in commercial value for Ontario's fishing industry. They're currently classified as "endangered" on the Species at Risk in Ontario List. This encouraged a cohesive movement between the Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and many others to revitalize the American eel population.  more...



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Michigan goose killings spark anger

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A bicyclist steers around Canada geese at Metro Beach Metropark in Harrison Township. The goose population has been increasing in some areas. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)Milford -- Carrie McDavid has never been a fan of the way Michigan handles its population of Canada geese, but this year she feels the state's policies have gone from bad to barbaric.

For the first time in a decade, the Department of Natural Resources authorized the killing of geese this summer to control the population where the birds interact with humans.

Some 800 geese have been rounded up, sent to a processing plant and turned to food for the needy.  more...



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Family of ospreys take up residence atop St. Lawrence Seaway crane

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A family of ospreys perched high atop a crane at the Iroquois locks will likely migrate before the crane's pulley system is needed at the end of the shipping season, St. Lawrence Seaway officials said.

Within the past five years, seaway officials estimate they've moved bird eggs from nests about three times to a safer place. more...



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Michigan planning to kill Canada geese this year

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For the first time in about a decade, Michigan wildlife officials are planning to kill Canada geese because of run-ins with city and suburban residents.

Michigan’s goose population has jumped from about 9,000 to 201,000 in the past four decades, drawing complaints about their waste fouling lawns, parks, golf courses and beaches. The situation is particularly intense in the Detroit area. more...



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Thousands of shorebirds flocking to area lakefront

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As readers were learning about "warbler neck" in the Nature Notes column of May 22, local birders were shifting their focus to shorebirds. About two weeks ago, thousands of the fowl descended on the Lake Ontario shoreline of Northumberland County. They also could be found in many wet fields farther inland.

Shorebirds are long legged birds, sometimes called waders, most of which inhabit the shores of lakes and seas. Those which occur in Northumberland County mainly belong to the families of plovers and sandpipers.  more...



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Cormorant debate: Which part of the ecosystem to protect?

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Gunshots rang out across Middle Island this month as Parks Canada launched in earnest its controversial five-year plan to protect the Lake Erie island's rare Carolinian forest from a native bird.

While officials hope culling the habitat-altering cormorants will save an ecosystem that makes up just one per cent of the country, others grapple with the ethics of re-engineering nature.

Middle Island, Canada's southernmost point, underscores the enormous philosophical divide between those who argue against what they call the arrogance of thinking we can reassemble ecosystems and those who say that in some cases, we have no choice.  more...



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