On warm early spring nights amphibians across Vermont are on the move. Salamanders and frogs migrate in mass from their upland wintering habitat to wetland breeding grounds. Unfortunately in many areas these migrations take them across heavily traveled roads resulting in high mortality rates. In recent years however a dedicated group of volunteers has been keeping an eye on the spring weather. When conditions are right these salamander saviors descend on known crossing sites both to ensure a safe migration and to learn more about some of Vermont’s most delicate and rarest residents.
Mention the word “rattlesnake” and the reaction you’ll get is either awe and fascination or fear and loathing. Timber rattlesnakes are listed as an endangered species in six of the 27 states that they inhabit from New Hampshire to northern Florida. Here in Vermont at the northern extent of their range a small population exists and is barely holding on after years of persecution. Today wildlife biologists, the Nature Conservancy and concerned volunteers are taking steps to ensure that timber rattlesnakes survive and thrive in Vermont.
The first record of banding birds in North America dates back to 1803 when John James Audubon tied silver cords to the legs of phoebes. This allowed him to identify two of the nestlings when they returned the following year. It wasn’t until 1902 when the first scientific system of banding began in North America. In the early 1900’s concerns over the declining numbers of waterfowl, passenger pigeons and over harvesting of egrets for their plumes resulted in an international agreement to manage migratory birds. Over the past century banding data has been a critical tool used to manage waterfowl. Banding birds requires capturing them and when it comes to waterfowl the most effective method is the use of rocket netting.
For centuries various plant species have been imported from other countries as ornamentals for various landscaping projects. They may look great when manicured by a landscaper but when these plants are spread into the wild they can become extremely invasive, out-competing native plants, increase erosion along stream banks, and provide less nutritious food and insufficient cover for wildlife. To help combat the spread and promote awareness of invasive plants the Nature Conservancy has developed a program to get us all “Wise on Weeds”