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Help Us Locate Bobcat Collars
If you have been following along with the Wildlife Division's Bobcat Research Project, which started in fall 2017, you might know that GPS (global positioning system) collars have been placed on 50 bobcats throughout the state. These collars have been collecting and transmitting important data about our state's bobcat population. All of the collars are programmed to automatically detach from the animals on August 1, 2018. Once that happens, staff will be working diligently to recover the collars (which will still be transmitting signals) from throughout the state. If anyone happens to find a collar in their yard or while walking in the woods, please contact the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3045 or deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov, and we will make arrangements to retrieve it from you.

Please continue to report bobcat sightings, particularly of bobcats with yellow ear tags (include the numbers on the tags if visible). Sightings can be reported on iNaturalist, the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page, or at deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov. We appreciate everyone's assistance with the Bobcat Research Project!
( Photo courtesy of Linda Tomas)
The Alliance for America's Fish and Wildlife

Our Nature. Our Nation. Our Future.
The Alliance for America's Fish and Wildlife was created to bring about a fundamental change in how conservation is funded in order to protect and conserve our fish and wildlife for the benefit of our nation, our economy, and our way of life. Habitat loss, invasive species, and severe weather have all taken a severe toll on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, and bees. Unless our nation makes a change in the way conservation is funded, the number of species on the brink of extinction will grow significantly. The solution is passage of the bipartisan Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA), legislation that will help wildlife at risk before they need the more costly and restrictive "emergency room" measures required by the Endangered Species Act. 

Connecticut businesses and organizations are encouraged to join the Alliance membership and support the effort to secure funding for fish and wildlife. You can sign up for free and show your support by submitting a membership form to alliance@fishwildlife.org. If you would prefer to sign up electronically, please visit the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Learn more about the Alliance for America's Fish and Wildlife and how you can help at www.ournatureusa.com and on the DEEP website.

Save the Date! Discover Outdoor Connecticut is Saturday September 22, 2018
Discover Outdoor Connecticut Photo Contest
 Discover Outdoor Connecticut is a fun-filled event that explores Connecticut's fish and wildlife resources and legacy of outdoor traditions, featuring live animals, archery, fish casting, shooting clays, kid's activities, outdoor skills, photo contest, and more. The event will be held on September 22, 2018, at Franklin Wildlife Management Area in North Franklin. Entries are currently being accepted for the Discover Outdoor Connecticut photo contest through September 1, 2018. Enter your best shots, view them at the event, and possibly win some great prizes!

Photographers may enter one photo in each category: 1) wildlife (including fish and insects); 2) people enjoying the natural world; and 3) scenic landscapes and flora. Judges will select first, second, and third place winners for each category, plus winners in a separate youth category (ages 15 and younger). There will also be a "People's Choice" award selected by popular vote at Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day . Photographers from any state may participate, but  all photos must have been taken in Connecticut . Please join us for Discover Outdoor Connecticut, and we look forward to seeing your photos!

Share the Shore with Shorebirds and Waterbirds
Piping plover chick
While visiting beaches and other coastal locations over the summer, you can help protect birds that nest and raise their young in these areas by staying at least 50 yards away from places where large concentrations of birds are gathered and avoiding areas that are roped off or marked with signs designating nesting locations. Shorebirds and wading birds need special protection throughout their April to September nesting season. Beach-goers are urged to keep fireworks and kites, especially kites that make noise, away from beach areas. Pets should be leashed at all times and kept away from areas cordoned off for nesting birds. We thank you for your cooperation.

Bats in Your Belfry? DEEP Would Like to Know 
Little brown bats
Summer is bat maternity season. During this time, female bats gather together and form colonies to rear their young (pups). Often times, these colonies are in attics or other parts of a house. It is essential to not perform exclusion tactics during maternity season, as you run the risk of trapping flightless bat pups from their mothers. If you know the whereabouts of a maternity bat roost, contact the Wildlife Division at deep.batprogram@ct.gov. 

Be Bear Aware to Reduce Conflicts
A trail cam captures a black bear as it checks out a backyard chicken coop.
DEEP Wildlife Division biologists have been busy this summer responding to a variety of human-bear conflicts. The primary contributing factor to conflicts is the presence of easily-accessible food sources near homes and businesses. Fed bears can become habituated and lose their fear of humans. Bears should NEVER be fed, either intentionally or accidentally. Connecticut residents should take the following simple steps to avoid conflicts with black bears:
  • Remove birdfeeders and bird food from late March through November.
  • Eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable.
  • Clean and store grills in a garage or shed after use. (Propane cylinders should be stored outside.)
  • Do NOT intentionally feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home may become "problem" bears.
  • Do NOT leave pet food outside overnight or add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
  • Keep all pets under supervision when outside, and dogs should be on a leash and under control. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.
  • Protect livestock (goats, rabbits, chickens, etc.) and bee hives with electric fencing. Bring animals inside a barn or coop at night if possible.
  • Do NOT approach or try to get closer to a bear to get a photo or video.
Snakes and People
Common gartersnake
When warmer weather arrives in Connecticut, people begin to venture outdoors to work in the yard or participate in various outdoor activities. This provides the opportunity for people to come across some of the 14 species of snakes that call our state home. Snakes have a long history of being misunderstood, and many people view these creatures as aggressive and full of malice. In reality, the snakes of Connecticut are generally harmless and would prefer to not be bothered by people. Snakes only bite to capture food or in defense. Defensive biting in snakes, venomous or not, is a last resort, and no snake will attack humans unprovoked. These fascinating creatures play a vital role in nature, as they help to eliminate pests and serve as food for other predatory wildlife.   

Annual Canada Goose Banding Project
In the last 60 years, land use changes in Connecticut have created ideal goose habitat throughout the state. These changes have led to an increased resident Canada goose population, along with an increase in nuisance complaints. 

During the last two weeks of June, Wildlife Division Migratory Bird Program biologists gathered a group of well-informed volunteers and staff to band resident Canada geese at locations throughout the state.   Goose banding is done in late June because the geese are molting their feathers and cannot fly. The captured geese are fitted with aluminum leg bands, which have an identifying number, and their sex and age (adult or juvenile) are recorded. This year 2,180 geese were captured. This included 1,326 new and 854 recaptured birds. Banding enables biologists to collect information on the movement patterns, survival rates, and population size of resident Canada geese.

Robbins Swamp Wildlife Management Area Expanded
Robbins Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Canaan and North Canaan recently grew by 90 acres when DEEP purchased a parcel from the Newtown Fish and Game Club with the help of a Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) grant. Robbins Swamp  Wildlife Management Area is the largest freshwater wetland in the state and provides highly significant wetland habitat to a wide variety of wildlife and plants.  Located in Falls Village between Route 7 and Route 63, the newly-acquired property shares a boundary with an existing piece of Robbins Swamp WMA that is difficult to access.  This purchase not only provides additional roadside access, but it also serves as protection for the Hollenbeck River.   The area is heavily used for a variety of wildlife-based recreational opportunities, including all forms of regulated hunting, especially upland bird hunting.  Maps of public hunting areas on state forests, wildlife management areas (including Meadow Brook), and other similar properties can be found on the DEEP website .
Be on the Lookout for Giant Hogweed
Photo taken by Donna Ellis, UConn
UCONN and the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) are asking state residents to be on the lookout for giant hogweed, which typically blooms during July. Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is an invasive, non-native plant from Eurasia that was first identified in Connecticut in 2001. This Federal Noxious weed was confirmed in 25 towns in all 8 CT counties in surveys conducted several years ago, but many of the populations are now under control. The most recent confirmed locations of giant hogweed were found in 2011. Numerous reports of suspect giant hogweed plants blooming in Connecticut have recently been received, but to date all of the 2018 reports have been negative. Several plants are sometimes mistaken for giant hogweed, such as the native cow parsnip, which is related to giant hogweed but blooms earlier in June. UCONN and CIPWG are conducting educational outreach to alert the public about giant hogweed and its serious health hazards. The sap causes large painful blisters on human skin and acts as an anti-sunscreen, which may cause skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. Eye contact may result in blindness.

Be an Advocate for Sound Forest Management
Attend the Coverts Project Seminar

Are you a woodland owner or property manager? Do you want to learn more about your woodlands and wildlife? Do you want to share this knowledge within your community? Then sign up for the Coverts Project Seminar and become a Coverts Cooperator!

Participate in a fun and engaging weekend from September 13-16, 2018, at Great Mountain Forest to learn about sound forest management with a focus on managing for wildlife. The cost of the seminar is only $150 and covers three days of educational programming, lodging at Great Mountain Forest, all hot meals, and the Coverts Project reference materials. In exchange, you are asked to return to your community and share what you have learned with others. For more information, including how to apply, please visit Connecticut Coverts Project. Space is limited so apply today. Applications will be accepted through the end of August.
2018 Year of the Bird - July's Featured Action
Black-throated blue warbler
July's featured action for 2018 Year of the Bird is to get a child started as a birder! All it takes is one positive encounter to create a lifetime of appreciation for wildlife and the great outdoors. Some helpful pointers to create that positive encounter include knowing a bird's ideal habitat, have the prospective birder think like a detective, hone listening skills, be aware of proper birding etiquette, and most importantly, have fun! It ultimately comes down to future generations getting involved to ensure the long-term protection of our natural heritage.   

Species of the Month: Northern Watersnake
The non-venomous northern watersnake is a common resident of nearly all of Connecticut's freshwater wetlands and waterways. This fairly common snake is frequently mistaken for other snake species, including the venomous cottonmouth (water moccasin). The cottonmouth is NOT found in Connecticut. While the northern watersnake can be aggressive, it poses very little threat to humans. This heavy-bodied snake has variable coloration and markings. Its body is usually tan to gray with brown or reddish crossbands alternating with dark blotches on the side. Capable of staying underwater for up to a half an hour, the northern watersnake feeds primarily on fish and amphibians.     

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