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Saving the Saltmarsh Sparrow
Connecticut DEEP is a recipient of a $1 million State Wildlife Grant, sharing it with the states of Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia, to restore salt marsh habitat and halt the decline of the saltmarsh sparrow. Since 1988, more than 4 out of every 5 saltmarsh sparrows have disappeared -- an estimated population decline of 87 percent. The species is the only bird that breeds solely in the salt marshes of the Northeast, and rising sea levels and more frequent storms are increasingly flooding its nests. This restoration effort will have far-reaching benefits for coastal communities, as healthy coastal marshes support clean water, storm and flood protection, and multi-billion dollar fishery, recreation, and tourism industries.

New Regional Wood Turtle Conservation Project
The DEEP Wildlife Division is excited to participate in an extremely important, region-wide Competitive State Wildlife Grant (SWG) project to help the wood turtle, a State Species of Special Concern. This funding will help our wildlife biologists monitor population trends at important sites and also learn more about where wood turtles are found and how abundant they are in different areas across the state. It also helps us collaborate across the region to address a growing conservation challenge -- preventing the illegal collection and trafficking of Connecticut's wood turtles.

Enter the 2021 CT Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest
Calling all creative young artists and art educators in Connecticut! Entries are now being accepted for the 2021 Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition, part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service environmental education program administered since 1987 by the Connecticut Waterfowl Association (CWA). This contest is open to all students, kindergarten through grade 12, who are Connecticut residents. The "Best in Show" winner will be featured as the 2022 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp!

This Tax Season, Help "Tern" the Tide for Wildlife
When doing your Connecticut state income taxes this year, consider making a donation to the "Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-Off Fund". This fund was created in 1993 by the state legislature to allow Connecticut state income taxpayers to voluntarily donate portions of their tax refund to support efforts aimed at helping Connecticut's endangered species, natural area preserves, and watchable wildlife. From acoustic bat monitoring, to tern recovery efforts, to bog turtle conservation research, multiple projects have been fully or partially funded by the Connecticut "Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund".

Share Your Winter Wildlife Sightings with Us
Observing wildlife is one of the most exciting aspects of being outside and sharing those sightings with others can make it even more rewarding. The Wildlife Division has several community-science projects on iNaturalist, where you can post your observations from around Connecticut. Even if you are not sure exactly what you have seen, other iNaturalist users can help you with identification. By sharing your sightings, you are contributing to a growing list of species, their distributions, and frequency of sightings around the state.

Coyotes are Vocal and Visible During Mating Season
Adult male and female coyotes form pair bonds that can last a lifetime. From their territories each winter, they mate and produce a litter of pups that they will raise together over the next year. While the pair is in their mating season, they may be more vocal and visible to the humans that live nearby. The pair may even behave more defensively around their territory, especially if other dogs are roaming off-leash (dogs are close cousins to coyotes and often seen as competitors). The mating season is also when the younger coyotes from the previous year disperse and look for their own territories. While dispersing, these transient coyotes may wander into unfamiliar places, which may put them in closer proximity to people and pets.

The best ways to coexist and minimize conflicts with coyotes and other wildlife throughout the year are to keep pets under control, make food and garbage inaccessible, and animal-proof your yard to prevent animals from denning in places that could cause conflicts, like under sheds and porches.

Injured Brown Pelican Rescued in Essex
During the last week in January, a juvenile brown pelican was found stranded in the icy waters of Essex. Through the efforts of the community conservationists in Connecticut, the bird was closely watched until Connecticut State Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police could arrive and rescue the young bird from what would have been certain death. Thanks to help from The Connecticut Audubon Society, Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, Inc., DEEP Wildlife Division Biologists, and EnCon Officers, the pelican has been steadily improving under the watchful eye of  trained wildlife rehabilitator, Christine Cummings, President and Founder of A Place Called Hope. With a little more help from its human friends, the pelican will soon be headed south to the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida, to hopefully complete its recovery.

How White-tailed Deer Survive Winter
Photo by Bruce Morrell
White-tailed deer have several adaptations that help them survive winter. Each year, white-tailed deer grow a winter coat that has hollow guard hairs for insulation with a finer undercoat for warmth. Deer also decrease their metabolic rate during winter, reducing food requirements to about half of their summer requirements. Providing supplemental food sources for deer during winter can actually have negative, and in some cases, fatal repercussions. Help keep wildlife wild by not providing food handouts for deer this winter. Feeding deer often makes them more vulnerable to starvation, predation, disease, and vehicle collisions.

Join the 2021 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 12-15, 2021. 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, including from several smartphone apps. Any photos you take of birds can also be entered. 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. Visit birdcount.org to join in the count.

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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 that is committed to complying with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please contact Barbara Viadella or Cenit Mirabal, DEEP Office of Diversity and Equity at 860-418-5910 or by email at deep.accommodations@ct.gov if you are requesting a communication aid or service, have limited proficiency in English, need some other type of accommodation, or if you wish to file an ADA or Title VI discrimination complaint. In order to facilitate efforts to provide an accommodation, please request all accommodations as soon as possible following notice of any agency hearing, meeting, program or event.