Please share this edition of Wildlife Highlights with other outdoor enthusiasts
and help our subscription list grow! www.ct.gov/deep/WildlifeHighlights 
Where Do Bats Go During Winter?
For all bats in Connecticut, winter brings about a change to colder temperatures and a lack of insects for food. As a result, bats must leave their summer habitat and move to where they spend the winter. While there is not one simple answer to where bats go, there are some general trends on where different groups of bats end up each winter. The nine species of bats in Connecticut are often categorized into one of two general groups; cave bats or tree-roosting bats. Cave bats shift regionally to suitable hibernation sites, usually below ground, where they hibernate through the coldest months of the year, whereas tree-roosting bats generally migrate long distances to more southern latitudes.      

Calling All Young Artists and Art Educators in CT!
2019 CT Junior Duck Stamp winning submission by Sophie Archie.
Entries are now being accepted for the 2020 Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition! This competition, part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) environmental education program, has been administered by the Connecticut Waterfowl Association (CWA) since 1987.  Starting this year, the CT Junior Duck Stamp "Best in Show" winner will also be featured as the 2021 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp! This contest is open to all students, kindergarten through grade twelve, who are Connecticut residents. To enter, students create and submit a drawing or painting featuring native waterfowl (ducks or geese). There is no cost, and submissions are due by March 15, 2020. Submitted artwork will be judged in four groups according to grade level, encouraging artists of all ages and ability levels to be inspired and join in the contest's creative fun and learning. Three first, second- and third-place entries will be selected from each group, and prizes will be awarded.

Be Bear Aware, Even in Winter
Did you know black bears in Connecticut may be active any time of the year, even during winter? While most bears den for some portion of the winter, some will come and go from their dens over the course of the season. Bears can be especially active during periods of milder weather or when there is little snow cover, and may be drawn to bird feeders and garbage bins for a quick and easy meal. Residents are reminded to practice good habits of coexistence to prevent bears from becoming food-conditioned. Keeping garbage, pet food, and bird seed off the menu is the best way to keep bears wild year-round. Read more about how bears survive winter in the upcoming issue of Connecticut Wildlife Magazine.

Join Us at the Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show
The DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources, including the Wildlife Division and Environmental Conservation Police, will be at the 2020 Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show from February 14-16, 2020 at Mohegan Sun's Earth Expo and Convention Center. This expo provides classes, seminars, and demonstrations led by outdoor industry pros. So, while you are out shopping for new outdoor equipment, pay us a visit to learn more about wildlife conservation and research efforts. We hope to see you there!

Save Wildlife with Your Taxes
When you donate all or a portion of your state tax refund for wildlife and endangered species, funds will be used for projects to help state-listed plants, reptiles, amphibians, bats, ospreys, and more! Their future is on the line -- the "Endangered Species/Wildlife" Fund line on your tax return. Just check the box to make a donation and show your support. Your gift is deductible from next year's federal income tax. On behalf of Connecticut's wildlife and natural areas -- we thank you!

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count
Calling all nature enthusiasts, birders, photographers, sportsmen, and community-scientists! This year's Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is taking place February 14-17, 2020. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society launched the GBBC in 1998, the first online community-science project to collect data on wild birds.
 
Today, more than 220,000 people worldwide participate in the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.
 
To participate, all you have to do is tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see and enter the data online. There is also a photo contest each year for the best bird photographs taken during the GBBC. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world and for as long as you wish! If you are new to the count, you will need to  create a free online account  to enter your checklists.

Public Informational Meeting on Horseshoe Crab
The DEEP Fisheries Division is holding a public informational meeting on the current status of the horseshoe crab and to gather input on potential changes to the regulation of the commercial fishery for horseshoe crabs. The meeting will be held on February 20, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Boating Education Classroom ("back building") at DEEP Marine Headquarters, 333 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, CT.

Horseshoe crabs are found along the Atlantic coast from northern Maine to the Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico. These marine arthropods are an important part of the ecology of coastal systems. They are known to be important predators of a variety of bottom-dwelling or "benthic" organisms, including several species of mussels and clams. The burrowing activities of horseshoe crabs also affect the habitat available for other species via "bioturbation" (reworking and stirring up of bottom sediments). Horseshoe crabs are a known food item of endangered sea turtles, and their eggs are an important food source for migrating shorebirds.

Species of the Month: Mourning Dove
The long, pointed tail of the mourning dove is unique among North American doves. This buffy-tan colored bird has black spots on its wings and is commonly seen perched on telephone wires or feeding on the ground. The mourning dove will eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of its body weight per day. Approximately 99 percent of its diet is made up of seeds, including wild grasses, herbs, and occasionally berries. The mourning dove has adapted well to a variety of open or semi-open habitats created by humans. 

-- Quick Links --
Your Feedback Is Important to Us!
Send your comments or suggestions to deep.ctwildlife@ct.g ov

Hunting and fishing equipment purchases and license fees fund hunting and fishing programs and wildlife conservation.

You are making a difference and we thank you for your support!
Stay Connected!

You'll find each issue packed with information about wildlife, hunting, fishing, and natural resource-related issues in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer committed to complying with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please contact us at 860-418-5910 or deep.accommodations@ct.gov if you: have a disability and need a communication aid or service; have limited proficiency in English and may need information in another language; or if you wish to file an ADA or Title VI discrimination complaint.