Please share this edition of Wildlife Highlights with other outdoor enthusiasts
and help our subscription list grow! www.ct.gov/deep/WildlifeHighlights 
Native Bee First to Be Listed as Federally Endangered
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that effective February 10, 2017, the rusty patched bumble bee will be added to the Federal Endangered Species List. It is the first bumble bee listed as endangered, and the first bee listed in the continental United States.

Connecticut was the first state to add bees to its List of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species when the rusty patched bumble bee and four other bee species were added to the list in 2010. The last time the rusty patched bumble bee was documented in Connecticut was in the early 1990s; it is currently considered extirpated in our state and is listed as a species of special concern. The  rusty patched bumble bee was once common and abundant across 28 states, but populations plummeted by 87%, leaving only a few small, scattered populations in 13 states and one Canadian province.

Like other bees, rusty patched bumble bees pollinate many plants, including economically important crops such as tomatoes, cranberries, and peppers. Bumble bees are especially good pollinators.

Migratory Bird Hunting Season Regulations Meeting
The DEEP Wildlife Division will hold the Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations Meeting on Friday, March 31, from 6:00 - 8:00 PM, in the rear conference room at the DEEP Marine Headquarters, 333 Ferry Road, Old Lyme. ( Directions)

At this meeting, DEEP will present proposed hunting regulations for the 2017-2018 migratory bird seasons and interested parties will have the opportunity to make comments. Final hunting season dates will be formulated shortly after the comments are compiled and evaluated.

Hunters are reminded that DEEP accepts comments on the migratory bird hunting regulations year round; however, this meeting serves to finalize the regulations and is being held just prior to when the Department will make its final season selections to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Each year, the USFWS works in partnership with states from four Flyway Councils (Atlantic, Pacific, Central, and Mississippi) to establish regulatory frameworks for hunting season lengths, dates, and bag limits. States select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks.

Donate to the Connecticut Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund to protect wildlife and habitat.
Volunteers Needed for Shorebird Monitoring
Spend your summer days at the beach and help protect federal and state-listed shorebirds! The DEEP Wildlife Division and Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds are seeking volunteers to monitor piping plovers and other shorebirds from early April until late August at beaches across our state. A training and orientation session for new volunteers will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017 (snow date of Sunday, March 5) from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM at the Audubon Connecticut Office at Stratford Point, 1207 Prospect Drive, Stratford. The training will cover biology of the piping plover; how to monitor breeding pairs and chicks; volunteer organization and logistics; and law enforcement information.

For more information on the training session or for directions, please email the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com. Reservations are not required; but an e-mail letting us know you will be attending is appreciated. 

This training session is co-sponsored by the DEEP Wildlife Division and the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (Audubon Connecticut, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, and the Connecticut Audubon Society).
Deadline to Apply for Deer Lottery: February 28
Every year, the DEEP Wildlife Division conducts a lottery to award a limited number of permits for deer hunting on certain state lands and controlled hunt areas. To hunt these areas, hunters can apply online for the lottery starting at midnight on January 1. This year, the deadline for applying for the lottery was moved up to February 28. Select lottery permits not purchased by that date will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis starting March 15, 2017.

An update of deer lottery areas that are currently filled is on our website

Be an Osprey Nest Steward for Osprey Nation
The DEEP Wildlife Division and Connecticut Audubon Society (CAS) launched a citizen science partnership called Osprey Nation in 2014 to create a long-term record of data that will give the conservation community a better understanding of the health of Connecticut's osprey population.

Osprey Nation relies on a dedicated network of volunteer stewards to monitor osprey nests and collect data on the birds' arrival dates each spring, the location of nests, nesting success, and departure dates. Data collected by volunteers are submitted to the Wildlife Division and also entered into a map for everyone to view online.

The project is off to a great start and the numbers of volunteers and nests monitored have grown substantially since 2014, but more help and expertise are needed. If you live near an active osprey nest and can volunteer to monitor a nest about 15 minutes every two weeks, please consider becoming an osprey nest steward! Steward training sessions will be held on Saturday, February 18, from 10:00 AM to noon, at the Essex Public Library and Saturday, February 25, from 10:00 AM to noon, at the CAS Milford Point Coastal Center. RSVP's are required. Please email mbull@ctaudubon.org if you would like to attend a training session. Contact the Connecticut Audubon Society at osprey@ctaudubon.org with any questions.

Providing Housing for Bluebirds One Box at a Time
Building nest boxes for eastern bluebirds is a great wintertime activity! The DEEP Wildlife Division is offering bundles of rough cut lumber to organized groups, such as schools, scouts, conservation commissions, and garden clubs, on a first-come, first-serve basis  for building bluebird nest boxes. The lumber for this program comes from state forests and the timber is milled at the state saw mill, thus allowing Connecticut-grown natural resources to benefit on-going conservation efforts. Groups interested in obtaining bundles of wood (each bundle makes about 15 boxes) from the Wildlife Division can contact Brian Hess at brian.hess@ct.gov for details.

Individuals interested in building bluebird nest boxes on their own can find detailed plans and information on our Bluebird Fact Sheet.

Species of the Month: Bobcat
An incredible diversity of wildlife species can be found in our state. Take some time to discover Connecticut's wildlife!

Did you know that the bobcat is a protected furbearer in our state with no hunting or trapping seasons? However, that wasn't always so. Historically, bobcats were viewed as a threat to agriculture and game species, and the state even placed a bounty on the species from 1935 to 1971. By the early 1970s, a large increase in the value of bobcat pelts raised concerns that the population could be overharvested. In addition, deforestation of Connecticut's landscape that peaked in the 1800s greatly reduced habitat for bobcats and many other wildlife species. In 1972, the bobcat was reclassified as a protected furbearer.

Learn more about the bobcat . . .

Tally of Deer Season Results
The Wildlife Division's Deer Program is still tabulating the final harvest results for the Fall 2016 and January 2017 deer seasons. The final report will be in the March edition of the newsletter. Stay tuned!
-- Quick Links --
Your Feedback Is Important to Us!
Send your comments or suggestions to deep.ctwildlife@ct.g ov
License Fees Fund Hunting and Fishing Programs
Fees collected from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, permits, and stamps go to support fish and wildlife conservation, preservation, and recreation programs administered by the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources. 

The next time you see a bald eagle, harvest a white-tailed deer, or catch a brown trout, give yourself and your fellow sportsmen a pat on the back!

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.