MTPR

wildlife

'Field Notes': Seeing The Stories In Scat

Jan 16, 2017
Canine scat showing bones and fur.
Josh Burnham

Some years ago, I worked at a science school near Yellowstone National Park. I taught kids ecology. My favorite day was the tracks and signs day where ten fifth-grade companions joined me for a hike along a river bottom to piece together recent animal activity. We rarely saw any animals, but the place throbbed with life. We were a team of detectives, opening our senses to all the clues we could find.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is seeking comment on whether fishers deserve ESA protection.
(PD)

The Fish and Wildlife Service is revisiting whether fishers warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

On Friday the Service announced it is seeking comment on the status of the fisher - a member of the weasel family - in its distinct northern Rocky Mountain population for potential listing as a threatened or endangered species.

Yearling bison inside Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek bison trap.
Buffalo Field Campaign

At least 80 Yellowstone National Park bison are now trapped in government corrals. Hundreds more will soon follow suit and be sent to slaughter.

'Field Notes': Learning To Read The Wildlife Stories Cast In Snow

Jan 10, 2017
Heron tracks in the snow.
Josh Burnham

Skiing across fresh fallen snow through a ponderosa forest, I pause at strange tracks with no apparent beginning or end, as if some animal had fallen from the sky. Wing tracings reveal a delicate brush of feathers. Within a heavy indentation where the bird must have struck, the snow is stained slightly red. The wingspread measures almost as long as my outstretched arms.

Ruffed Grouse: Drummers Of The Bird World

Dec 30, 2016
Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). (CC BY 2.0)
Flickr user, Seabamirum

One Saturday morning looking out my window, I noticed something wandering  along the fence outside my house. Worried it was one of my chickens that had escaped, I grabbed my binoculars. But instead of a chicken, I saw a brown and white bird with a tuft on his head. As I watched him making his way, pecking and discarding all but the tastiest of scraps, two more of the birds emerged from the brush. The ruffed grouse were back.

US Considers Mining Limits In West To Save Sage Grouse

Dec 29, 2016
The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (CC-BY-2)

DENVER (AP) — The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

The options range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

Leaders of the state and federal agencies involved in managing grizzly bears are meeting in Missoula Tuesday and Wednesday.
(PD)

Leaders of the state and federal agencies involved in managing grizzly bears are meeting in Missoula Tuesday and Wednesday.

Members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) convene twice a year to coordinate policy, planning, management and research in the states where grizzlies live. Their goal is to recover local populations so that eventually the bears can be moved off of the endangered species list.

Meetings this week address revisions and amendments to a few of Montana's National Forest plans.
Flathead National Forest

Wilderness advocates say they’re “really excited” at the number of public comments supporting wilderness and wildlife habitat in Flathead National Forest.

Yellowstone Looks At Large Bison Cull To Trim Herds

Nov 30, 2016
Yellowstone Park has an estimated 5,500 bison, the highest number since at least 2000.
(PD)

Yellowstone National Park biologists say more than 900 wild bison would need to be killed or removed this winter to begin reducing the size of herds that spill into neighboring Montana.

Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press

Chapter 14:  The Circle

It’s a universal truth that much of what we see around us follows a circle. Considered the father of modern observational astronomy, Galileo had it right: our planet does not hover motionless at the center of the universe, it orbits the sun. Chris Columbus didn’t fall off the edge of the Earth when he set sail from Spain seeking a new trade route to the East Indies. Whether it be moon phases, tidal patterns, or the annual changing of the seasons, recurrence is the norm. Examples are endless. No clearer is this principle than in nature’s rhythm of renewal and continuance — the water and nitrogen cycles, the ten-year cycle of snowshoe hare abundance, and life’s circle of birth, death, decomposition, and rebirth.

Pages