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?
Of six venomous snake species
in Georgia, the copperhead
is the most common. Growing up to 4 feet long, this beige to peach-colored pit viper has a relatively small triangular-shaped head, vertical pupils, and a heat-sensitive pit between each eye and nostril. Don’t get too close to see these features for identification, though. Instead, learn to recognize its distinctive hourglass or saddle-like banding pattern. Another good field mark is the copperhead’s bright yellow tail tip, which is only present on young pit vipers. Small brown snakes without yellow on their tails most likely are not copperheads but rather one of Georgia’s 35 non-venomous species.
-- Linda May
Nongame Conservation Section
environmental outreach coordinator
Download DNR's new Venomous Snakes of Georgia brochure (.pdf, 7.9MB).
What's another way? DNR's annual Youth Birding Competition!
25th season starts Nov. 12. The winter survey of birds at feeders across North America helps scientists monitor broad movements of populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance, according to organizers. FeederWatch
is also a way to engage children in birding, nature and science. Learn more
Rafinesque's big-eared bat
Rafinesque's big-eared bats are a secretive species found across the southeastern U.S. but considered abundant nowhere. These unusual looking bats are typically found in forested habitats, often roosting in large, hollow trees.
Read about Rafinesque's big-eared bats and other unique Georgia wildlife in DNR's rare species profiles.
Tracking sea turtles
2011 proved a record year for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in Georgia. ("High for loggerheads," August)
. Counting the last nest deposited on Blackbeard Island on Aug. 19, sea turtle cooperators located 1,972 loggerhead nests, nearly twice the state's annual 22-year average of 1,040 nests.
Nests deposited in August will incubate for approximately 50 days before hatching. Cooperators will continue to monitor incubating nests through mid-October.
As for the sea turtle nesting season including all species, here's the rundown from www.seaturtle.org
: 2,006 (156 lost, 7.7%)
: 833 (41.5%)
: 4,358 (2.2%)
: 127,633 (62.1%)
: 115,335 (51.1%)
*As of Sept. 26.
Did you see?
the new movie
about a bottlenose dolphin rescued from entanglement in a crab pot trap, has drawn attention to the issue of entanglements, as well as DNR's video from summer of Nongame Conservation Section biologists freeing a dolphin caught by the tail
. Unlike the movie, that dolphin, snagged in a trap line near Sapelo Island, did not appear seriously injured and swam away to join other dolphins.
More from Hollywood
," the movie in which a virus transmitted in part by bats sparks a deadly global pandemic, has spurred a number of stories and responses regarding bats as misplaced villains, their beneficial roles and the disease endangering them: white-nose syndrome
. Examples: MSNBC
, Bat Conservation International
, U.S. Geological Service
, EcoHealth Alliance
Loggerhead sea turtles
along the southeastern U.S. will remain federally listed as threatened
. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its decision this month to split the species into nine "distinct population segments," and upgrade five to endangered. The proposed rule changes released a year ago called for listing the Northwest Atlantic segment, which includes loggerheads along Georgia's coast, as endangered. But the Fish and Wildlife Service stuck with "threatened" following public comments and further analysis.
Talk at Southeastern Technical College's
Swainsboro campus will range from restoring Ohoopee Dunes Natural Area
to conserving indigo snake habitat and managing invasive species on rock outcrops, thanks to the group gathering Oct. 19-20 at the school
. The annual meeting of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance
also includes a field trip to Ohoopee Dunes.
The Fish and Wildlife Service
says another 374 aquatic species
in the Southeast may warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act. The agency will now thoroughly review the known status of each species
, many of which are found in Georgia.
The Postal Service's Save Vanishing Species stamp
, issued Sept. 20, will sell for 55 cents and contribute to conservation of tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles, African elephants and Asian elephants.
Four radio-tagged whimbrels
survived Hurricane Irene, including Chinquapin, a bird that DNR outfitted with the solar-powered transmitters. But two of the four, Goshen and Machi, were killed
by hunters on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, where hunting shorebirds is legal and even a tradition.
The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council’s
annual meeting explores efforts of Georgia agencies to manage non-native invasive species. Nongame Conservation Section Assistant Chief Jon Ambrose and botanist Eamonn Leonard are two of the speakers at the Oct. 6 session
Southern Appalachian woodrats
were documented at two more north Georgia mountain sites by trail cameras set by DNR biologists. These native rodents
have declined across their range and are known from only a few areas in north Georgia.
Six gopher tortoises
displaced by development in Telfair County were released recently at Yuchi Wildlife Management Area. DNR's Nongame Conservation Section, The Orianne Society
, Southern Co.
and Joseph W. Jones Ecological Center at Ichauway
are building the population of gopher tortoises
at the 7,800-acre WMA near Waynesboro to a self-sustainable level.
Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership
, a collaborative focused on management and conservation of the region's aquatic resources, has a new website
and free quarterly newsletter.
Protecting the Everglades headwaters
by creating a 150,000-acre national wildlife refuge and conservation area
will depend on landowners willing to provide full or partial interest in their land.
are on the rise, with the south Florida population of the endangered
cats increasing from an estimated 100 to 160 adults.
Nongame in the news
: "NY seeks stop to wild hogs; may ban captive hunts
: "Volunteers spread seeds to restore native plant species
:"As diamondback terrapin nesting declines, center eyes habitat assistance
Oregon State University
: "Biodiversity helps dilute infectious disease, reduce its severity
Savannah Morning News
: "Local loggerheads remain threatened
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
: "Scientists shocked by behavior of rare gray whale
The Florida Times-Union
: "Motorized tours of Cumberland likely to expand
University of Edinburgh
(Scotland): "Birds learn skills for nest-building
The Florida Times-Union
: "DNR to use site off Brunswick's waterfront for whale necropsies
: "Hunters contribute billions to conservation efforts
The Christian Science Monitor
: "Many official state flowers aren't native plants
The Florida Times-Union
: "Hurricane Irene washed away some sea turtle nests along the First Coast
Anderson (S.C.) Independent Mail
: "Bird survives ravages of Hurricane Irene
The (Gainesville) Times
: "Brenau program saving endangered species
The Florida Times-Union
: "Jeff Corwin films sea turtle release on Jekyll Island for new ABC show
The Wall Street Journal
: “With trouble on the range, ranchers wish they could leave it to beavers
: "Enjoy benefits of nature at DNR education centers
: "Kudzu-eating bugs a boon ... sort of
Savannah Morning News
: "Bats take a liking to coastal Georgia
Red and Black
: "With $61,000, one Warnell prof sets out to rid the world of an invasive species (apple snails)
, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 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.
(3:30-8:30 p.m.), Oct. 8 (8 a.m.-4 p.m.), Georgia's Native Waters Project WET
workshop for educators, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta. Kim Morris-Zarneke, (404) 591-4192
: 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.
: 3rd annual Right Whale Festival
, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jacksonville Beach.
* The Nature Conservancy's Katie Owens with a speckled madtom (a native catfish) at Raccoon Creek. Sherry Crawley/TNC
* Hellbender. Dirk J. Stevenson/The Orianne Society
* DNR biologist Thomas Floyd with a hellbender. Ga. DNR
* Leucistic ruby-throated hummingbird feeding at Lake Oconee. Dreama Thomas
* Raccoon Creek restoration site, before (left) and after restoration work. Katie Owens/TNC
* Rafinesque's big-eared bats. Tim Carter
* Etowah darter. Sherry Crawley/TNC
* DNR's Brett Albanese, TNC's Katie Owens and others seining for rare fishes at Raccoon Creek. Joe Cook/Coosa River Basin Initiative
* TERN Volunteer of the Year Bill Baker, center, with Nongame Environmental Outreach Coordinator Linda May and TERN President Brock Hutchins. Chris May
* Bill Baker helps others assemble nest boxes at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in 2007. Linda May/Ga. DNR
* Save Vanishing Species stamp. U.S. Postal Service
* Gopher tortoise released at Yuchi WMA. Bob Brinkman/The Southern Co.
* Pokeberries. Terry W. Johnson
* Hispid cotton rat reaching for dried pokeberries on an icy winter morning. Terry W. Johnson
* Red knots on the Altamaha delta. Brad Winn/Manomet Center for Conservation Science