WILDLIFE

Angela Sirois-Pitel stands shin-deep in mud, surrounded by grass and poison sumac. She’s holding a large antenna above her head, listening for a slow and steady beep.

Sirois-Pitel is a stewardship manager for The Nature Conservancy. And she’s searching for bog turtles.

Nick Sethi's painting on vinyl was part of an October 2021 installation called "Swamp Show." It took place in a cove of the Connecticut River in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Alex Rotondo / alexanderjrotondo.com

Along the Connecticut river, an oxbow in Northampton, Massachusetts, has long been a source for landscape paintings of tranquil beauty.

Biden's ‘marine monument’ decision features commercial fishing ban

Oct 8, 2021
A large bubblegum coral (Paragorgia arborea) seen during a dive during NOAA's 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition.
NOAA OER / NOAA Ocean Explorer / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In a major move that involves banning commercial fishing, President Joe Biden took executive action to restore protections in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, an area about 150 miles off the coast of southern New England.

A white-tailed deer fawn.
Stephen Horvath / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/stephenhorvath

Hundreds of white-tailed deer have been found dead in New York state — including in counties neighboring the Berkshires. This has some wildlife conservationists in Massachusetts quite concerned.

A small frog with a big voice is starting to make a comeback in Massachusetts, thanks to some help from state scientists and student volunteers.

The eastern spadefoot is about 2 inches long, with a big head and yellow, cat-like eyes. The males have a distinctive mating call, which sounds something like a crow blowing its nose.

Shipworms are saltwater mollusks known for consuming wood, causing extensive damage to ships and piers. They may also offer a key to new types of biofuel.
Reuben Shipway / UMass Amherst

Researchers at UMass Amherst say they've solved at least one mystery about a destructive saltwater mollusk known as the shipworm.

An American robin is measured as part of federal research on urban wildlife in a backyard in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Wildlife biologists have received reports of sick and dying songbirds in some mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states. There's no evidence the disease has reached New England, but Massachusetts officials are asking birdwatchers to take preventative steps.

The emergence of the 17-year cicadas has dominated bug news of late, but in the northeastern parts of the U.S. and Canada, another cyclical menace has emerged that has the potential to do more lasting damage.

A wooden walkway snakes through the property of the Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

Two reporters teamed up to write a series of stories on what academics call "charismatic carbon," or forest offsets. The focus was on California's emissions policy and polluters. But conservation nonprofit Mass Audubon is also involved.

Oceanites oceanicus (Wilson's storm petrels), can sound spooky calling out from their underground nests at night.
James St. John / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/jsjgeology

Updated at 9:06 a.m. on April 28  

During this pandemic, some cities have been said to be turning into ghost towns. I  wonder if they — and we — are instead being transformed into something else. 

Bald eagles are soaring again in Vermont. The magnificent birds were pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting, habitat loss and pesticide poisoning.

A robin that was entangled in a face mask and found hanging from a tree
Sandra Denisuk

A western Massachusetts doctor has launched a campaign urging people to remove the straps on their COVID-19 masks before throwing them away. He says he's trying to protect wildlife.

The Fish and Wildlife Department and a state science advisory panel disagree over how to protect endangered bats in Vermont from a large-scale pesticide spraying program.

Jack Kelley at right, with his father John Kelley, of Hadley, Massachusetts.
Submitted Photo

High school senior Jack Kelley of Hadley, Massachusetts, has observed a milestone few other teens could claim. Inspired by a videogame he played as a preteen, Jack began to visit fire towers, or fire lookouts. 

At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in northern New Hampshire, the pandemic broke a decades-long streak of field research. Now, scientists there are adapting with new technology – recording the sounds of the forest, which they hope will transform their long and influential record of a changing world.  


White-tailed deer tracks in snow.
Connecticutbirder / creativecommons.org

When the five deer first appeared — pausing at a neighbor’s, then coming into our yard — it was like a visitation from beyond. They seemed otherworldly with their stature and poise, warm brown against the awfully white snow.

A black bear.
Creative Commons

Bears are getting more and more used to raiding our trash cans and bird feeders for food. And as they get more comfortable with that behavior, they’re learning another one: coming into houses. 

A bluebird at a backyard feeder.
Kristin Foresto / Mass Audubon

Every year, Mass Audubon holds a 24-hour birding competition during peak migration season. But the coronavirus is forcing a redesign of this year's event, which starts Friday evening.

With more people staying home, there are fewer cars on the roads in western Mass. --- making a quieter soundscape for birds and other animals.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

With many schools and businesses closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, fewer cars are on the road. Even normally busy highways are relatively empty. So in some places, it’s quieter outside.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the sale and breeding of certain whales held in captivity. 

Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it's causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country.

Temperatures continue to steadily rise around the globe, but that trend isn't spread evenly across the map or even the yearly calendar.

A stretch of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

A citizens group focused on the cleanup of the Housatonic River is meeting in Lenox, Massachusetts, Wednesday night, but a key issue will not be discussed.

A federal appeals court has upheld the creation of the Atlantic Ocean’s first marine national monument. It’s the latest judicial validation for an Obama-era decision, which was praised by environmentalists.

Roof patches are visible on the Bri-Mar stable in Hadley, Massachusetts, in November 2019.
Keith Shannon / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will tear down a deteriorating barn at its wildlife refuge in Hadley, Massachusetts. The building has housed barn swallows, and bird advocates are fighting to keep it standing.

New England's Migratory Birds Like To Eat Local, Too

Nov 29, 2019

As you’re prepping your Thanksgiving feast, you might take a page from New England’s migratory birds. Turns out, these feathered creatures are health-conscious locavores.

A new study published in the journal Biological Conservation finds that given the choice, birds traveling through New England will almost always opt for native fruits like blueberries and raspberries over invasive ones like Asian bittersweet and multiflora rose — even when the latter is far more prevalent.

AAA Northeast is warning drivers to watch out for deer.  

November is a particularly bad time for deer strikes because fall is mating season for white-tailed deer in New England. Also, with the end of daylight saving time, it’s often dark during the evening commute. 

American Black Bear #391, also named "Fitz," in Hatfield, Massachusetts, with her cubs in the summer of 2019.
Jesse St. Andre / MassWildlife

Black bears are adapting their behavior in New England to meet seasonal food needs — they’re becoming more suburbanized.

The New England Aquarium and Cambridge-based engineering company Draper have some big news: They’re working on technology that will allow them to monitor whales with satellites in space.

Leaving the planet to watch whales might sound a little silly, but the ability to do it could represent a giant leap forward in our ability to protect these animals and our oceans.

Many male birds have elaborate ways to attract mates. Blue-footed boobies show off their fabulous feet with a dance; bowerbirds decorate their nests with brightly-colored sticks and flowers.

Brazil’s white bellbird has its own special trick: When it gets close to an interested female, it takes a deep breath, pivots toward her, then screams in her face.

Or tries to, anyway — often the female sees it coming and hops away before the full blast hits.

Researchers at the University of Vermont are hoping to give nature a hand in fighting a deadly parasite devastating moose populations in Vermont.

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