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Connecticut Legislators Show Support for the Recovering America's Wildlife Act
Connecticut's Bi-partisan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus has adopted a resolution in support of the Recovering America's Wildlife Act, federal legislation that would provide stable, dedicated funding for all fish and wildlife species and enable states to effectively implement their Wildlife Action Plans. The Caucus also joined the Alliance for America's Fish and Wildlife whose mission is to secure stable funding to support state fish and wildlife conservation, ensuring the wildlife we enjoy today are here for future generations.

DEEP Forestry Division Carries Out Prescribed Burn at Tunxis State Forest
Last month,  the DEEP Forestry Division, assisted by local fire departments, conducted a controlled burn at Tunxis State Forest. The approximately 19-acre prescribed burn was carried out as a means to promote healthy grassland habitat growth for wildlife, including state species of special concern like the bobolink and savannah sparrow. After a burn, native grasses will grow back thicker and healthier than before. Having a prescribed burn is also an excellent habitat management strategy that does not require the use of chemicals.  

2018 Connecticut Gypsy Moth Outlook
According to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), approximately 1,175,000 acres were impacted by gypsy moth caterpillars in 2017, the greatest extent of defoliation seen in our state since the early 1980s. This was largely a result of nearly three years of drought that prevented or limited maimaiga fungus activity, which controls/kills gypsy moth caterpillars. Fortunately, widespread mortality from the fungus was finally observed in June 2017, just prior to pupation by the caterpillars. Egg mass counts conducted by CAES show significantly reduced amounts because of the die-off, but some smaller sporadic pockets of gypsy moths were able to produce egg masses for the 2018 emergence. Those areas will see moderate to high caterpillar activity. Nevertheless, in 2018 we should not see the extensive activity and widespread defoliation observed in 2017. 

An Evening for Swifts! Chimney Swift Conservation Night 2018
Willibrew is for the birds! Join us for the 6th annual Chimney Swift Conservation Night at the  Willimantic Brewing Co. (Main St CafĂ©), 967 Main St, Willimantic, on Monday May 21, 2018. This is primetime for viewing peak numbers of chimney swifts at the Nathan Hale roost. Hopefully, the birds don't disappoint!
 
Join chimney swift researchers from CT DEEP and UCONN for a wonderful meal, specialty brews - including "Flying Cigar Ale" - and the amazing phenomenon of hundreds of chimneys swifts "tornadoeing" into two of the state's largest summer roosts. 

Handicapped Hunting Blind at Babcock Pond WMA Restored
Thanks to a generous donation from the Connecticut Waterfowlers Association, the DEEP Wildlife Division was able to renovate and restore a handicapped accessible waterfowl hunting blind at Babcock Pond Wildlife Management Area (in Colchester and East Haddam). The blind is located on Standish Pond and can be accessed from a handicapped-accessible hunting trail. Due to recent incidents of vandalism, the blind was in need of numerous repairs, which included replacing the asphalt roof, multiple floor and sideboards, posts, railings, and a door.

May is American Wetlands Month
Did you know that approximately half of all North American bird species use wetlands for feeding or nesting? Although wetlands only cover a small portion of the continental U.S., they also help improve water quality and supply, protect many towns from flooding, and enhance and protect wildlife habitat.

May Events for the Year of the Bird 2018
Participate in Connecticut Audubon's first annual Bird-a-thon! For three days (May 18 through 20, 2018), birders of all skill levels are asked to engage in a fun and friendly competition to find and count birds throughout Connecticut. Teams will collect pledges, and then spend as much time in the field as they can before the end of the weekend.  All proceeds will directly benefit Connecticut Audubon's bird conservation work throughout the state! Being that 2018 is the Year of the Bird, each month has a theme and featured action that you can take to help benefit birds and bird conservation.  

Get Outside for Connecticut Trails Day 2018
Connecticut is proud to host the largest National Trails Day celebration in the nation.  Although we are a state small in size, we are big on outdoor fun! There are already 240 events scheduled for June 2 and 3, 2018. Trails Day events are free and have a volunteer guide. Activities include hikes, family walks, trail runs, paddles, bike rides, historical strolls, and so much more. Connecticut Trails Day is sponsored by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people to the land in order to protect forests, parks, walking trails, and open spaces in Connecticut for future generations.

Use Caution Near Mute Swan Nests
Private landowners, towns, organizations, and others can print or download a  Mute Swan Nesting Area Sign   (PDF) to post near swan nests to warn boaters in small watercrafts to keep their distance. While nesting and raising young, mute swans will aggressively defend their territories against perceived threats.  Signs should be laminated to prevent weather damage.  
Reminder: Help us count wild turkey broods. Participate in the Annual Turkey Brood Survey.
Watch for Turtles in the Road
Female box turtle crossing road.
The months of May through July are the nesting season for many turtles. At this time, egg-bearing females travel across land to find the perfect location to dig a nest and lay eggs. Aquatic turtles also leave the water in search of terrestrial nesting sites. Connecticut's landscape is highly fragmented by busy roads, and many turtles are forced to travel great distances - and across roadways - to find suitable nesting habitat. Helping a turtle move across the road can be the difference between life and death for the animal, and for future generations, BUT YOUR SAFETY COMES FIRST. Be sure to assist a turtle in the road only when it is safe to do so and do not attempt to stop traffic.

Species of the Month: Eastern Box Turtle
Arguably the most familiar of the eight species of turtles found in Connecticut, the eastern box turtle is characterized by its high-domed carapace (top shell) and yellow and orange markings. T his terrestrial turtle inhabits a variety of habitats, including woodlands, field edges, thickets, marshes, bogs, and stream banks. Box turtles are omnivorous and will feed on a variety of food items, including earthworms, slugs, snails, insects, frogs, toads, small snakes, carrion, leaves, grass, berries, fruits, and fungi. While once common in Connecticut, the box turtle population has declined over the years. Due to this decline, the box turtle was added to the state's List of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species.

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