Parks Service to Kill Many or Most of Fire Island Deer, Targeting Friendly Ones

deer eating corn

The National Parks Service gears up for long-dreaded killing of Fire Island deer, targeting friendly ones and messing with the species natural evolution in a world dominated by humans.

Keep reading Fire Island Deer Lovers Worried as Parks Service Kill Off Marches Forward

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Praying Mantis Clumsily Eats Bees in Brooklyn

Praying mantises aren’t rare or graceful, but a treat to see. How do bees not notice this lobster-like monster sitting on a flower? This mantis in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park lurked on a flower, then lunged on two bees and tore them to pieces.

Keep reading Praying Mantis Clumsily Eats Bees in Brooklyn

Puffins near Portland

Puffins, one of the oddest, most charming and hardest to see birds to see in the United States, but it’s getting easier because their numbers on Eastern Egg Rock, a southern Maine island hit a record 148 pairs in 2014. Warming water temperature threatened the efforts of Project Puffin to bring the cartoonish seabird back to its lost colonies.

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Did a Hunter Leave a Dead Bear in Central Park to Teach New Yorkers a Lesson?

Releasing predators in Central Park play a huge role in the fantasies and rhetoric of hunters. Could one have planted a dead black bear cub scare New Yorkers? Seems like somebody with access to dead wildlife was trying to make a point.

Keep reading Did a Hunter Leave a Dead Bear in Central Park to Teach New Yorkers a Lesson?

Parks Service Wants to Hunt Fire Island Deer Again

deer eating corn

Watch out Fire Island deer! The Parks Service wants you out of the way of their holly plants. And tourists, if you like seeing deer, too bad. The parks service wants to cut down on “negative human-deer interactions,” which it seems to define as anything that isn’t hunting.

Keep reading Parks Service Wants to Hunt Fire Island Deer Again

Nest Quest in Prospect Park: wood ducks, herons, swans, cardinals, swallows and, of course, robins nest in the park

Wood duck mother and duckling

Something is going on with nests in Prospect Park this season. They’re everywhere. You can’t walk 50 feet in the park bumping into some adorable tableau of chirping baby birds. Half the trees in the park seem to be brimming with exhibitionist robin families. The big unusual nests this year are green herons and wood ducks (which are living somewhere near dog beach–but where they nested, I don’t know.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green herons are nesting on the lullwater and near the less-fancy bridge by the boathouse.

Green heron on nest by the boathouse. Babies are tucked under her wing.

Green heron feeds her creepy-looking babies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swans in the park, as if in defiance of a potential plan to wipe them out, are multiplying. They have two nests, one helpfully placed on an island by the ice rink to make for easy viewing.

The father swan normally spends his days chasing off other waterfowl, but he came and sat on the eggs with his wife. Apparently he was alarmed by a mommy mallard and her ducklings nearby.

Baby Swans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I havent’ seen barn swallows build nests on the boathouse yet, just in the tunnels.

Barn swallow nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These robins are so desperate for attention they build nests at eye level, sometimes

Keep reading Nest Quest in Prospect Park

Bill Gates’ Mosquito Chart Too Harsh on Wolves, Sharks, Hippos; Too Easy on Humans

Bill Gates’ popular chart on World’s Deadliest Animals tries to visualize shows mosquitoes as the most despicable creature on earth. But it makes hippos, wolves and sharks look worse than they are and lets off humans (the true villains) way too easy.

Keep reading Bill Gates’ Mosquito Chart Too Harsh on Wolves, Sharks, Hippos; Too Easy on Humans

What to do with cocoons falling from late winter trees?

Dreary winter is a great time to find cocoons in trees or on the ground. I found a luna or polyphemus moth cocoon and am anxiously awaiting its emergence. Turns out there’s a huge online market for cocoons among moth and butterfly breeders.

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Obamas to Shelter Animals: Drop Dead

the Obamas sell out animal people and get another purebred dog.

Obamas get another rarified purebred dog, then try to assuage their guilt by making a donation to the local shelter.

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Monster quest: finding the giant snapping turtle of Prospect Park

giant turtle on grass by pond

Enormous snapping turtles lurk in Brooklyn lakes but emerge this time of year to lay eggs. Oddly, NY state is about to allow trapping, hooking and clubbing them to death.

Keep reading Monster quest: finding the giant snapping turtle of Prospect Park–before NY legalizes trapping them