Wildlife Watching

Of the hundreds of hikes I’ve taken in my life, the night hikes really stand out. Even the most familiar terrain feels and sounds different once the sun sets, especially if you plan ahead and know where to look. Kids love these nocturnal adventures, as well. Not only does night hiking mean staying up past…

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Black fly season, which runs from about Memorial Day to mid-June in the North Country, scares off a lot of people. And who could blame folks for not wanting to be surrounded by swarms of blood-sucking bugs? But this is also prime time for viewing alpine flowers and other harbingers of summer, so Nicky Pizzo,…

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While staying at Joe Dodge Lodge, I explored the woods beside the beaver pond across the road. Deep snow earlier that week revealed recent animal activity— red squirrel middens, snowshoe hare scat, and wind-blown otter tracks along shore. I set up 2 wildlife cameras to see what might venture by overnight.   In the morning I set…

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Beaver dams get a bad rap. Sure, they can be a nuisance, wreaking havoc on roads, cellars, and culverts across the Northeast and inspiring officials to extend beaver-trapping season and install beaver-proof pipes to drain flooded areas. But the busy rodents and the ponds they create are also cleaning our waterways and protecting fish that live…

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Did the February school vacation week creep up on your family? It might feel like we just had a break, what with having three snow days and a weekend right in a row, but next week, there are five days kids have off and parents need to fill them with things to do. For those…

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You might not know it, but deer and moose aren’t the only antlered giants roaming the Northeast. Elk can still be found in north-central Pennsylvania. The 1,000 or so elk currently living in the state aren’t descended from native, pre-Colonial herds. Overhunting wiped out the Eastern elk by the 1870s, according to Jeremy Banfield, a…

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As the days get shorter, the leaves start falling, and winter gets closer, it becomes easier to spot wildlife. For owl fans, the bare trees make it easier to catch sight of the majestic birds’ silhouettes, though patience is a necessary requirement when out looking for owls. It helps to go with an expert, who knows…

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While many of us are enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, Northeastern black bears will be finishing up their own autumn feasts before bedding down for the winter. After entering their dens in late November or early December (if food is abundant), or as early as October (if food is scarce), black bears in our region usually hibernate…

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Fairies, unicorns, and butterflies are staples of childhood folklore, but while the first two are hard to come by, butterflies aren’t. What parent hasn’t seen a kid gazing in wonder at the tiny creatures? People of all ages appreciate butterflies without knowing anything beyond the critters’ caterpillar origin story, but the monarch, in particular, provides…

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The East Coast region is home to 73 National Wildlife Refuges, providing habitats for hundreds of animal species: furry, feathered, and finned. Since 1903, when Theodore Roosevelt named Florida’s Pelican Island the first refuge of its kind, the NWR designation, first and foremost, has protected and restored wildlife populations and habitats. But these refuges are…

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