Friday, July 29, 2011

USGS Red Knot - Horseshoe Crab Research

According to a U.S. Geological Survey study, ecological links exist between
red knots and horseshoe crab populations

Population health of the red knot, a shorebird species whose population has plummeted over the last 15 years, has been directly tied to the number of egg-laying horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay during the red knot’s northward migration each spring.

The research appears to support the hypothesis that managing horseshoe crab populations and their harvest may help conserve red knots. Horseshoe crabs are harvested for bait. They are also used in the pharmaceutical industry, which collects their blood for its clotting properties.

The study, which looked at data from more than 16,000 birds over a 12-year period, revealed that the chance of a red knot gaining significant weight after arriving at Delaware Bay is directly related to the estimated number of female horseshoe crabs that spawned during the shorebird stopover period each spring.

Birds that do not gain enough weight tend to have a lower chance of surviving the rest of the year, and in some years the difference between heavy and light bird survival can be large.

The research also found evidence that the annual survival of these birds is not only partly dependent on their body mass when they leave Delaware Bay but is also strongly related to snow conditions when the birds reach their arctic breeding grounds.

The research, Demographic consequences of migratory stopover: linking red knot survival to horseshoe crab spawning abundance, was authored by Conor McGowan (USGS), James Hines (USGS), James Nichols (USGS), James Lyons (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and others.

It was published in this month’s edition of Ecosphere, a new open-access journal of the Ecological Society of America. The article is available online.

source: USGS

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oil Spill in Yellowstone River

On July 1, 2011, crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River. According to Montana officials, the spill released over 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the river.

These are a few details concerning the spill:

- The spill occurred when a pipeline feeding the ExxonMobil refinery in Lockwood broke.

- On July 2, Governor Brian Schweitzer, Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) and other state agencies were notified by Yellowstone County DES that crude oil was released into the Yellowstone River from an ExxonMobil Company pipeline.

- Evacuations took place in the immediate area of the spill due to the odor from the oil.

- Unified Command for the incident includes the EPA, State of Montana and Exxon Mobile.

- Other agencies involved include: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, North Dakota Disaster and Emergency Management, National Response Center, PPL Montana.

- Following the spill, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks issued a consumption advisory for fish caught in the Yellowstone River in the area of the oil spill.

- For more information, visit: visit

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Discarded Fishing Line Kills Wildlife

Fishing line discarded along waterways can harm animals. Each year across North America, birds, mammals, and other wildlife get tangled up in fishing line along rivers, creeks and reservoirs.

Some birds use fishing line to build nests. The result is that chicks and young waterfowl end up tangled in the mess.

Fishing line also cuts into the tender legs and feet of birds, waterfowl and other wildlife. Those cuts then can become infected and result in an agonizing death for the animals. Pets can also get tangled in fishing line with a potential to cause injury.

Monofilament line is very strong and can remain hazardous for years. Unfortunately, line can be found along reservoirs and stream banks throughout North America.

Outdoor enthusiasts who encounter discarded monofilament line or other trash should pick it up. Also, tell anglers about the dangers of discarded line.

If you want to recycle your old fishing line, it can be sent to: Berkley Recycling, 1900 18th Street, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 51360.

Fishing and sport shops that would like to offer recycling to customers, can contact Berkley at 800-237-5539. Berkley is a fishing products company.

source: Colorado Division of Wildlife

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maine eBird Birdwatching Resource

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Birding Trail and Cornell University have launched a state-specific version of eBird – a popular birding site where birdwatchers share information about sightings, trips and trends.

Birders are encouraged to visit the new Maine eBird site at or from MDIF&W’s website at There birders can submit their observations, look at data that have already been collected, view news stories relevant to Maine birders, read articles regarding Department research and conservation planning efforts, and consider volunteer opportunities.

For more information about Maine Birder Bands, visit

source: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Red Fox Art in North America

Red fox artwork is a favorite of wildlife enthusiasts. These colorful predators are known for their intelligence, hunting ability and family-oriented lifestyles.

In the past, foxes were hunted for sport, killed for bounties, poisoned or simply shot. Centuries of mistreatment forced them to lead very shy lifestyles.

Eventually, cultures began to change and red foxes made an incredible recovery in North America. Today, red foxes are commonly seen along rural roads, fields, meadows and wildlife refuges.

Accompanying the return of red foxes is the popularity of red fox art. Nature enthusiasts love fox photos, illustrations, and other artwork. When choosing a gift for fox artwork collectors, shoppers often choose items such as coffee mugs, t shirts, hats or other items that can be enjoyed on a daily basis.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Art Contest

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies will be sponsoring an art contest designed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Submissions to the art contest must capture and illustrate the spirit of the Wildlife and Sport Restoration Program.

Artwork should highlight one or more land, and one or more water-dwelling species; wild mammal, sport fish (no reptile, amphibian, plant, invertebrate) -- found in the United States.

The contest is open to the public. There is no submission fee. For contest details, contact Kim Betton with the USFWS at 703-358-2081 or e-mail