Georgia DNR's Nongame Conservation Section
receives no state funds to conserve nongame wildlife, native plants and natural habitats. We depend on contributions, grants and fundraisers, such as the eagle and hummingbird license plates. How can you help?
The feathers of many songbirds
look a bit ragged in late summer, with some birds having bare spots on their bodies or balding heads. This loss of feathers is called molting
, and it is completely normal. After the breeding season, birds gradually lose their worn-out feathers and get new ones by fall. Wing feathers are lost one at a time on each wing, and new feathers grow in before more are dropped – that way, the bird can still fly. All birds go through a late-summer molt, and some species will molt again in the spring to get brightly colored plumage for breeding season.
-- Linda May
A $1,000 grant
Nongame Conservation Section
environmental outreach coordinator
from the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division
will help one Georgia third-grade educator teach students about life sciences this school year. The teacher must demonstrate "exceptional energy and innovation." Selection is based on project design and answers to proposal questions. Deadline to apply is Oct. 1. Apply here
. The 2011 recipient will be announced in late October. Wildlife Resources and The Environmental Resources Network, friends group for the division's Nongame Conservation Section, first offered the grant in 2010.
Congress' decision to raise
the U.S. debt ceiling postponed decisions on conservation funding, including for State Wildlife Grants. Next step: Fit about $1.04 trillion worth of federal discretionary spending into the fiscal 2012 and 2013 budgets. That is about $24 billion and $20 billion less, respectively, than in 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office
. The Office of Management and Budget has told agencies
to prepare 2013 budgets 5 and 10 percent smaller than in 2011, targeting low-priority and ineffective programs." What will be cut and how much has not been decided. It's possible the House Interior Appropriations bill that would slice State Wildlife Grants by 64 percent, or nearly $40 million, could be voted on after Labor Day, when Congress returns from a summer recess. But one outlook is that a short-term spending resolution will be proposed, followed by an omnibus, or overall, bill. The Teaming with Wildlife
coalition calls the House funding insufficient. State Wildlife Grants
are the nation's core program to help states prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.
The 2008 shooting
of a Florida panther in West Georgia ended in a guilty plea
Aug. 24. David Adams, formerly of Newnan and now living in Ohio, was sentenced in federal court to two years probation and a $2,000 fine for unlawful take of the panther, an endangered species. Adams also cannot hunt in the U.S. during his probation. He killed the panther while deer hunting in Troup County. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Adams knew he was shooting a species of cougar, for which there is no open season in Georgia. The bullet entered the animal at the back of the rib cage by the right hindquarters and lodged in the right front shoulder. Testing showed this panther was an offspring of a Florida panther in south Florida.
These small darters are endemic to the Etowah River watershed and known from only about 20 small tributaries. Federally and state-listed as threatened, Cherokee darters
dine on aquatic invertebrates and live in the riffles habitat of small- to medium-sized streams.
Read more about Cherokee darters and other rare Georgia wildlife in DNR's rare species profiles.
Did you see?
DNR's Trina Morris
in this Smithsonian Institute video
about white-nose syndrome and possible links to caving.
Savannah State University students
helping DNR with a beached pygmy sperm whale
on Tybee Island.
Photos of the recent Turtle Talk
at Charlie Elliott Wildife Center
Tracking sea turtles
A Georgia sea turtle nesting update from www.seaturtle.org
: 2,000 (112 lost, 5.6%)
: 832 (41.6%)
: 4,240 (2.4%)
: 104,924 (65.8%)
: 95,535 (59.9%)
*As of Aug. 28 for all sea turtle species nesting on Georgia beaches. Here's a complete look at real-time data and beach reports
As part of a bog turtle
detectability study done in cooperation with UGA researchers, 31 bog turtles
were captured and released this summer in Georgia, five for the first time. Only about 80 of the federally listed turtles are known from the state.
DNR staff surveying
the upper Flint River drainage in Coweta and Spalding counties found state-threatened Barbour's map
and alligator snapping turtles
, significantly extending the known range for the primarily Coastal Plain species.
Speaking of the Flint
, the Flint RiverQuarium will offer everything from guided bird walks to up-close sessions with reptiles during its 2011 Wings & Wildlife Festival, Sept. 24-25. Details: www.flintriverquarium.com
or (229) 639-2650.
Five southeastern fishes
are being added to the federal endangered species list
: the Cumberland darter (Kentucky, Tennessee), the rush darter (Alabama), yellowcheek darter (Arkansas), and the chucky madtom and laurel dace (Tennessee).
A new kiosk
at Ringgold's Elsie Holmes Nature Park
provides information on Chickamauga Cave, a private, gated cave nearby, and with style: the metal roof is designed as a big but anatomically correct bat wing!
How goes the war on invasive plants
in Georgia? Find out at the same-named symposium of the annual Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council
meeting, set for Oct. 6 at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens.
Learn how to enhance
and protect coastal biodiversity, from backyard gardens to neighborhood landscapes, in an Oct. 8 conference
in Richmond Hill organized by the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve
and Coastal Wildscapes
More than 1,000 gopher frog
metamorphs have been released this year at Williams Bluffs
, a long-term effort to re-establish the rare frogs
at The Nature Conservancy preserve near Blakely. (Above, DNR senior biologist John Jensen helps prep the latest batch -- one frog per condiment cup -- at Atlanta Botanical Garden
from Lithonia's Arabia Mountain High School were picked for The Nature Conservancy's LEAF program
and spent a month honing enviro interests and leadership skills at sites from North Dakota to south Georgia's Moody Forest Wildlife Management Area
and Fort King George
A wild cougar
killed crossing a road in Connecticut on June 11 is, according to genetic tests
, the same animal spotted in eastern Minnesota in December 2009, more than 1,000 miles away. According to The Cougar Network
, the big cat had also been documented in Wisconsin and New York, and its DNA is most closely related to a cougar population in South Dakota's Black Hills.
New on the bookshelf
: "Drifting into Darien
," by Janisse Ray, the Georgia author with deep roots in the Altamaha region, and "Rocks of the Piedmont
," by Dan Williams, forest resources manager at UGA.
Nongame in the news
: "What is killing the bats?
: "Lake Erie watersnake population rebounds
(Texas): "Researchers discover freshwater mussel species thought to be extinct
: "Island bats & long nights mark start of long-term survey
The Outdoor Wire
: "New life for Georgia's Oaky Woods rare prairies
: "Rural road maintenance may accidentally push spread of invasive plants
: "Some causes of the variable shape of flocks of birds
Wisconsin State Journal
: "Whooping crane recovery effort hampered by nesting issues
Savannah Morning News
: "Engineered turtles take the hit for science in Bloomingdale
: "Killer plant 'eats' great tit at Somerset nursery
Savannah Morning News
: "Tybee turtle 'Clover' set free
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority
: "Experts refute alleged 23 whooping crane deaths
: "Return of the eastern indigo
: "New digs, New animals, New adventure: Renovated Oxbow Meadows center opens this weekend
: "Bald eagle spotted at reservoir
: Outdoors photography workshop
with John Reed, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Folkston.
: Shortleaf Pine Conference
, Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville, Ala.
Sept. 24: Georgia Naturalist Rally
(with butterfly symposium track), Stone Mountain Park (by Stone
Mountain Memorial Association and MAG).
, DNR Coastal Regional Headquarters, Brunswick.
: State of the War on Invasive Plants in Georgia
, Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council symposium, State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens.
: Open the Garden Gate conference
by Coastal WildScapes and Sapelo Island National Estuarine Reserve, City Center, Richmond Hill.
: Georgia Outdoor Learning Symposium
, Georgia Perimeter College, Decatur Campus.
, Starbridge Sanctuary, Dahlonega.
Photo credits (from top)
* In masthead: Boat-tailed grackle drinking from faucet. Todd Schneider/Ga. DNR
* Map of Chinquapin's travels. College of William & Mary Center for Conservation Biology
* Georgia DNR biologist Tim Keyes holds Chinquapin as the bird is outfitted with a tiny radio transmitter in May 2010. Ga. DNR
* Teachers do an oil simulation clean-up exercise at McDuffie Environmental Education Center. Ga. DNR
* Cherokee darter. Byron Freeman/UGA
* Bumble bee pollinating blueberries. Athena Rayne Anderson
* Bat-wing kiosk at Elsie Holmes Nature Park. Ga. DNR
* DNR senior biologist John Jensen preparing gopher frog metamorphs for release at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Atlanta Botanical Garden
* Sweat bee. Athena Rayne Anderson
* Indigo bunting cooling off in a bird bath. Todd Schneider/Ga. DNR
* Pygmy sperm whale stranded at Tybee Island. Ga. DNR