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Connecticut Duck Stamp Winner Announced!
Chet Reneson, a word renowned artist from Lyme, Connecticut, is the winner of DEEP's 2017-2018 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamp Art Contest.  Reneson's depiction of a pair of surf scoters flying at the mouth of the Connecticut River with the Saybrook Jetty and Lighthouse in the background will be featured as the 2018 Duck Stamp. 

The winning artist has been painting and carving for over half a century and has won a number of prestigious awards, such as being named Artist of the Year by Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, and the Atlantic Salmon Federation.  His painting was chosen out of a total of 22 outstanding entries submitted by artists from across the country, including a record 12 from Connecticut artists.

Hunters are not the only ones who can purchase Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamps. Anyone who wishes to support wildlife and wetland conservation and restoration in our state should buy a Duck Stamp. Stamps can be purchased for $17 each through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System and at select DEEP offices.

Share the Shore with Nesting Birds
Least tern
Charles Island in Milford and Duck Island in Westbrook are  closed to the public until September 9, 2017, to prevent disturbances to nesting birds. Both islands have been designated by DEEP as Natural Area Preserves, primarily due to their importance as nesting habitats for several state-listed birds, including snowy egrets and great egrets (state threatened species), glossy ibises, and little blue herons (state special concern). 

In addition, DEEP is asking beachcombers, sunbathers, and boaters along the shoreline to respect the fencing and yellow signs warning of piping plover and least tern nesting sites. The piping plover, a small, sandy-colored shorebird about the size of a sparrow, is a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, as well as a state threatened species in Connecticut. The small, gull-like least tern, which nests in colonies in the same beach habitat as the piping plover, also is a state threatened species.

Help Wildlife ...
  • Refrain from walking dogs or allowing house cats to roam freely on beaches during the nesting season, but remember that even leashed dogs have the potential to step on nests and young.
  • Do not bury or leave trash, picnic leftovers, and fish scraps on a beach. They attract predators of shorebird chicks and eggs. 
  • Do not attempt to "rescue" young birds that appear to be lost or too young. In most cases, when immature birds are found alone, the adults have been frightened away but remain nearby and will return to their young once the intruder leaves.

SAVE THE DATE! Connecticut Hunting and Fishing Day
Saturday, September 23, 2017, from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
This FREE event is sponsored by the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources. Lots of fun activities for the whole family are planned.
New Location:  Cabela's (475 East Hartford Blvd. N., in East Hartford) has graciously offered their grounds and parking area for Hunting and Fishing Day.

Mosquito Activity in Full Blast - Trapping Set to Begin
Connecticut recently had its first major mosquito hatch along the Connecticut River and the Mosquito Management Program will begin trapping and testing mosquitoes on Monday, June 5 .

"This is a particularly bad spring because of the successive flooding and drying out of the river floodplains and vernal wetlands," stated Connecticut Wetland Restoration and Mosquito Control Coordinator Roger Wolfe. "All the towns from Cromwell to the Massachusetts line are experiencing heavy infestations of mosquitoes at this time."

Several different species of mosquitoes are present in our state and some can travel many miles in search of a blood meal. The aggressive Asian tiger mosquito is new to Connecticut and its established habitat range expansion was documented by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and explained in a  press release in late May. Asian tiger mosquitoes are known to transmit disease causing viruses including Zika, West Nile, chikungunya, and dengue.

Hordes of mosquitoes will use damp, shady ditches or shallow, still-standing pools for refuge and as rest stop areas before heading out for another meal.  Expect high activity with overcast or wet weather.

Porter Pond Acquisition Adds to Pachaug State Forest
DEEP recently purchased the Porter Pond property in Sterling, which will provide protection and management of a key block of undeveloped land within Pachaug State Forest. The new acquisition shares its entire eastern, western, and southern boundary with the existing state forest. Pachaug State Forest is already an extensive property consisting of over 26,000 acres in the towns of Voluntown, Griswold, Sterling, Plainfield, and North Stonington; Porter Pond adds an additional 146.7 acres. The Porter Pond property is primarily upland hardwood forest and includes 17 acres of wetlands. A tributary within the Wood River basin bisects a distance of more than one-half mile near the western border along Porter Pond Road.

Pachaug State Forest is heavily used for a variety of wildlife-based recreational opportunities. The state forest, including the Porter Pond parcel, is open for hunting of small game, pheasant, waterfowl, spring and fall turkey, and muzzleloader and non-lottery shotgun deer. Porter Pond is open year-round for fishing and the Wood River is stocked seasonally with trout. Porter Pond Road provides public access to this area. The new parcel  also is ideal for wildlife observation and photography. The pond, plus the entire state forest, provides habitat for several state-listed species.

The Porter Pond parcel was purchased from United Electrical and Fuel Corporation in 2014. A Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration grant, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provided additional funding for the purchase of this property.

Maps of public hunting areas on state forests, wildlife management areas, and other similar properties can be found on the DEEP website.
Fishing Line vs. Wildlife
With Free Fishing License Day coming up on June 18, it is vital to remember to properly dispose of and recycle tangled, loose, or unused fishing line. Because this fishing line does not decompose, it will remain in lakes, ponds, or oceans. Birds and other wildlife can become entangled and this will often lead to death. Fishing line can also become wrapped around boat propellers causing mechanical damage. 

This American robin was recently found at the Ruby and Elizabeth Cohen Woodlands in Colchester. According to t he photographer, it was hanging dead from a tree about 20 feet up with the fishing line caught in its mouth. This is only one of many incidents when wildlife suffers due to a lack of effort to properly dispose of fishing line and other plastic trash.

Loving Animals to Death
As adorable as  baby animals might be, they also require very specialized care and the right diet to make sure they grow properly.

Here is an example of an animal that was essentially "loved to death." This baby opossum developed a severe case of nutritional metabolic bone disease because it was fed an inappropriate diet for several weeks by someone not trained, or licensed, to care for it. Had this animal received the  appropriate care, it would have been released into the wild. Unfortunately, the severe bone deformities resulting from improper care could not be corrected by veterinarians and  the  only option for this animal was humane euthanasia. 

PLEASE do not assume a baby animal is an orphan. Consult a wildlife rehabilitator,  Wildlife Division biologist, local nature center, or veterinarian before removing any baby animal from the wild.

Courtesy of Kensington Bird &  Animal Hospital.

Pollinators in Connecticut
Pollinators are responsible for 35% of global 
food production and directly responsible for up to 40% of the world's supply of   micro-nutrients,  such as vitamin A and folate which play a vital role in human development.  

The majority of pollinators, especially bees and bats, historically have been battling against population decline.

The Wildlife Division has developed a pollinators webpage where you can learn about different pollinators native to Connecticut and what you can do to help slow their decline.
Participate in the Wild Turkey Brood Survey!
 CT DEEP urges residents to keep a tally of all sightings of hen turkeys and poults (young-of-the-year) from June 1 through August 31 as part of an Annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey. Results from this survey allow Wildlife Division biologists to accurately determine productivity and reproductive success by estimating the average number of turkey poults per hen statewide, assessing annual fluctuations in the turkey population, gauging reproductive success each year, and evaluating recruitment of new birds into the fall population.

Citizen involvement in this survey is a great way to help biologists gather useful data on Connecticut's wild turkey population.

Learn more . . .
CT Invasive Plants:  Giant Hogweed
First documented in Connecticut in 2001, giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is an invasive, noxious plant which poses a threat to human health and its surrounding environment. It is native to the Caucasus Mountains and southwest Asia, and was first introduced to the United States in 1917.

Giant hogweed is toxic because furocoumarins are present throughout the plant and are concentrated in its sap. Painful blisters and burns occur when human skin comes into contact with furocoumarins. These chemicals make our skin exceptionally sensitive to sunlight.

This plant is easily confused with poison hemlock, angelica, and cow parsnip. Make sure you know the differences before coming in contact with any similar-looking plants.

Learn more about giant hogweed in Connecticut . . .
Species of the Month: Red Fox
An incredible diversity of wildlife species can be found in our state. Take some time to discover Connecticut's wildlife!

Spring and summer in Connecticut are some of the best times to observe red foxes and playful kits.  Although t hese red fox kits may look cute, they are still wild animals and should not be handled. Young foxes are cared for by both adults. Therefore, the death of one adult does not necessarily mean the kits are orphaned and need assistance.

The breeding season is from January through March. After a gestation period of 51 to 53 days, females give birth to a litter averaging 4 or 5 pups. Red foxes may dig their own burrows but they usually improve an abandoned woodchuck burrow.

Foxes commonly live in close association with human residences and communities where they can find plenty of food, water, and cover. They frequently inhabit yards, parks, and golf courses, especially areas that adjoin suitable, undeveloped habitat. Foxes can become accustomed to human activity but are seldom aggressive toward people.

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