July 26, 2019
Watch: Update on McGraw’s raccoon research
Photo by Pontla/flickr
The Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation is proud to partner with the Delta Waterfowl Foundation on a groundbreaking study of how raccoons are using wetlands and other types of habitat during the waterfowl nesting season on the Canadian prairies.

The raccoons are relative newcomers to the Canadian portion of the Prairie Pothole Region, where most of the continent’s waterfowl are hatched. Yet they are opportunistic and extremely efficient nest raiders, and use the region’s wetlands as humans would use a grocery store – an easy and convenient source of nutrient-rich food such as duck eggs.

Our lead researcher on the project is Dr. Charlotte Milling, the McGraw Postdoctoral Fellow. It is hoped that the project ultimately provide better ways to manage raccoons and reduce their impact on nesting waterfowl.

In this clip, Delta personnel explain the project in detail.

The race to save Chicago’s piping plovers
By Christopher Borrelli/Chicago Tribune
Photo by Peter Massas/flickr
We know Monty and Rose first met in Waukegan, in the spring of 2018. Both had flown into town separately, though most likely, both wintered in South Carolina. They settled for the summer in a parking lot across from Waukegan Municipal Beach. It wasn’t the loveliest of vacation spots. The parking lot is made of loose rocks. Smokestacks loom. The beach gets crowded, and the shoreline is not without AriZona ice tea bottles and Starbucks cups.

Until locals began doing doughnuts perilously close to the summer residence of Monty and Rose. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fearing worse, swept in and removed Monty and Rose’s fledgling clutch from their care and drove the unhatched offspring into northern Michigan, to be raised in less chaotic circumstances.

Monty and Rose are  piping plovers .

Meet the new secretary of the Interior
By Gabriella Hoffman/Sporting Classics Daily
Photo by Greg Palmer/flickr
When entering Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s office in downtown Washington, D.C., I notice a beautiful trophy antler mount hanging above the fireplace.

Bernhardt, beaming with pride, tells me the massive antlers belonged to the moose he harvested in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.
It’s rare to encounter individuals, let alone Cabinet Members, who openly talk about this in “The Swamp.”

But for the Rifle, Colorado native, hunting and fishing are in his blood. He credits his grandpa for hooking him on fly fishing at an early age. From there, he was soon drawn to shooting sports and hunting.

Should we reallocate our fisheries harvest?
Photo by Michael Dawes/flickr
Divvying up the total catch of a fish stock between recreational and commercial fisheries is arguably the most difficult job for federal fisheries managers.

These allocations are generally set in percentages, as in 51 percent of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper stock is allocated to commercial fishing and 49 percent to recreational fishing. But these percentages are often based on catch data that is decades old.

Even when updated data shows a reallocation may be needed to reflect current catch rates or maximize the cultural and economic value of a fishery, regional management councils are slow to use that data. Sometimes they reject efforts to reallocate a fishery because of political pressure or objections from the sector that stands to lose some of its historic allocation.

Fortunately, recent policy advancements may support a fresh look at allocations. Here’s what happened.

The feistiest penguins are lefties
By Sarah Keartes/Hakai
Photo by Ronald Woan/flickr
If you ever find yourself in fisticuffs with a  Magellanic penguin , you’ll want to block right. A recent study found that during fights, the pluckiest penguins in Argentina’s Punta Tombo colony were lefties.  The finding  is the first evidence of side dominance—also known as lateralization—in a wild population of flightless birds.

A team of researchers led by Thaís Stor, a graduate student at Brazil’s Federal University of Pernambuco, used a number of tests to see if their tuxedoed subjects had a dominant side. They looked for signs of footedness by watching when the birds stepped onto an obstacle or stretched a leg to cool off. They also looked for uneven wear on the flipper feathers as a sign of a bird’s preference for turning one way underwater, which would indicate “flipperedness.”

“The penguins show evidence of having a dominant flipper,” explains Ginger Rebstock, a researcher at the University of Washington and coauthor of the paper, adding that about half preferred turning left and half preferred turning right. Foot tests produced a similarly split result, but something interesting happened when the birds got rowdy.

“If you know wilderness in the way you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go.” 

- Terry Tempest Williams
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