Delivering the news
* Computer problems delayed this issue of Georgia Wild. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
* The e-newsletter switches to monthly delivery starting in September. The change from bimonthly means more timely nongame news. And maybe no more computer glitches.WILD Facts
Flycatchers on the fly
If you hear an ascending “wheep” whistled from the treetops, a great crested flycatcher
is nearby. As its name suggests, this large songbird is a pest controller. It eats not only flies, but also beetles, wasps, bees, crickets, moths and caterpillars, plus fruits, berries and, rarely, hummingbirds. Great crested flycatchers breed in eastern North America but migrate toward Central and South America every fall. Typical nest sites are hardwood tree cavities near clearings, although they sometimes use bird boxes in suitable habitat.
Teachers learn forestry, wildlife
University of Georgia student and future teacher Abbie Whitaker can’t wait to use what she learned during this year's Teacher Conservation Workshop at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. “I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of the aspects of the forestry industry but feel like I have learned so much this week,” said Whitaker, one of 30 participants in the workshop that teaches educators about forestry, wildlife and conservation.
* Learn more in this day-by-day look
* Also from Charlie Elliott: A grandfather's volunteerism
is passed along.Legislative updates
Big issues, few answers
* Wildlife agencies are digging through the new farm bill
. Supporters say it promises more funding for forest management that benefits wildlife. Critics question claims that billions more will go to conservation. Understanding what changed will take months to filter down to the public and even key organizations.
* The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008
fell 12 votes short of the 60 needed for passage in the U.S. Senate in June. But six senators not present indicated they would have voted yes. John McCain and Barack Obama were among them.Get involved
Loggerhead plan drafted
A draft update of the loggerhead sea turtle recovery plan
is open for public comment until July 29
. First written in the late 1970s and updated in 1991, the revised plan reflects new research on the threatened sea turtles and two years of work by a panel including DNR Wildlife Resources senior biologist Mark Dodd. The 306-page draft was done in concert with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The goal: De-list loggerheads, first listed under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1978. The plan's wide-ranging impacts will vary from education to shrimpers and other businesses affected by turtle regulations. Comment to email@example.com
or: MFS National Sea Turtle Coordinator
Attn: Draft Loggerhead Recovery Plan
Office of Protected Resources
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910or
USFWS National Sea Turtle Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
6620 Southpoint Drive South
Jacksonville, FL 32216(fax: 301-713-0376; Attn: NMFS National Sea Turtle Coordinator)
Mycteria americanaHome bird
: Wood storks
are the only true stork found regularly in the U.S.Status
: Federally and state-listed as endangered.Breeding range
: Includes the southeastern U.S. (Georgia, Florida and S.C.), coastal Mexico, Central America, Cuba, Hispaniola, and South America from Columbia to Argentina.Description
: Long legs, bald black heads, mostly white plumage and thick curved bills. These lanky wading birds stand about 3 feet tall.On the prowl
: They feed by wading with beaks open and partially submerged, snapping them shut on fish and other prey.On the wind
: Wood storks, also called wood ibis and Spanish buzzards, are often seen soaring on thermal updrafts. Water required
: Freshwater and estuarine wetlands are critical for breeding, feeding and roosting.Nesting upswing
: DNR aerial surveys in May estimated a record 2,255 nests
in 24 colonies across 14 south Georgia counties, from Chatham to Thomas. The annual survey's previous high: 1,928 nests in 2006.Good news II
: Florida is pursuing the $1.75 billion purchase of nearly 300 square miles of the Everglades. The deal could restore critical stork habitat.Threats
: Habitat loss is the No. 1 threat. Most colonies in Georgia are on private land, underscoring the need to work with private landowners to preserve healthy wetland systems.
Source: Georgia DNRYour money at work
Resurrecting the redhorse
Nongame license plate sales, the Give Wildlife a Chance income tax checkoff and donations to the Georgia Wildlife Resources' Nongame Conservation Section primarily support conservation, education and land acquisition projects. One ongoing project is re-establishing the state-endangered robust redhorse
, a rare member of the sucker fish family thought extinct until 1991 when it was found in the Oconee River. Nongame funds are supporting research into whether a redhorse population stocked in the Broad River is self-sustaining. Fish movement patterns in the Oconee River are also being radio-tracked. The efforts are aimed at creating self-sustaining redhorse populations in Georgia and the Carolinas. The opportunity is rare, offered by a fish "lost to science for over a hundred years," Wildlife Resources fisheries biologist Jimmy Evans said.Ask a biologist
How best to water wildlife?
Try these conservation-oriented tips from waterSmart
for watering backyard wildlife:
1. Set up a birdbath. They're excellent water sources for birds and require little maintenance.
2. Use rain barrels to collect water (and use this water for native plant gardens and ponds).
3. If you garden, choose drought-tolerant plants and group plants with similar watering needs.
4. Remember that manmade ponds that support existing aquatic wildlife such as fish or frogs can be maintained under state water restrictions. E-mail your questions about nongame wildlife, plants or habitats and look for the answer in your in-box or the next Georgia Wild.
Nongame in the news
* Moultrie Observer: "Park continues fight against invasive weeds
," about aquatic invader at Reed Bingham State Park and Georgia's draft Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan. (July 5)
* WTOC (Savannah): "Injured dolphin rescued in the Wilmington River
," about Southeast Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network rescue of an entangled dolphin. (July 2)
* Florida Times-Union (and other newspapers and TV stations): "Endangered wood storks double number of nests
," about increase in wood stork nests. (July 2).
* Associated Press: "Sea turtle Dylan is released back into the wild
," about Georgia Sea Turtle Center release of captive-reared loggerhead at Jekyll.
* Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Rare Georgia plume tree protected, but still endangered
," about Georgia Botanical Society trip led by WRD botanist at Big Hammock Natural Area. (June 29)
* Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Program releases 17 adults back into the wild
," about bog turtle recovery efforts. (June 22)
* The (Dalton) Daily Citizen: "Events highlight role of butterflies, other pollinators
," on Pollinator Week and butterfly counts in Georgia. (June 17)
* www.chattanoogan.com: "Don't fear, but snakes are here
," about summer encounters with snakes. (June 12)
* WXIA-TV (11Alive): "Teamwork to help a rare bird In Georgia
," about banding, nest boxes for southeastern American kestrels near Butler (June 2).
Also: Macon Telegraph story
* BainbridgeGa.com: "State DNR talks Silver Lake
," about Silver Lake WMA session with DNR Commissioner Noel Holcomb. (May 21)
* Savannah Morning News: “Loggerheads nesting again
,” about sea turtles' return to Georgia beaches.
* Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Baby peregrine falcons find home up in Atlanta skyscraper
," about downtown peregrine nest. (May 14)Calendar
(recreation and parks month): Events at Environmental Education in Georgia
* Aug. 26-27
: DNR Board
committee (1 p.m. Aug. 26) and full meeting (9 a.m. Aug. 27), DNR offices, Atlanta.
* Aug. 27-29
: Georgia Environmental Conference
* Sept. 27
: National Public Lands Day
.Submit items here
shows a 72-pound snapping turtle caught during a research trip to southwest Georgia's Spring Creek. Eager won the trip through a silent auction at the 2008 Weekend for Wildlife, an annual fundraiser for Wildlife Resources' Nongame Conservation Section. Want to see your favorite photo of nongame wildlife or conservation efforts in Georgia? E-mail them and the needed details to Rick Lavender
Photo credits (from top):
* Sea turtle in masthead. Ga. DNR
* Tangerine darter. Ga. DNR
* Deb Weiler and Brett Albanese check underwater visibility for identifying fish in the Toccoa River. Ga. DNR
* Intern Ben Morrison collects samples from rare "day-nester" loggerhead on Little Cumberland. Mark Dodd/Ga. DNR
* Wood storks. Brad Winn/Ga. DNR
* TERN board members and DNR Wildlife Resources staff on a recent Ossabaw Island trip. Ga. DNR
* Prentice Eager with snapping turtle. John Jensen/Ga. DNR
* Actor Chevy Chase with bog turtle replica. Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance
volume 1, issue 4
Georgia Wild is an e-newsletter produced by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and focused on conserving nongame species, those not legally trapped, fished for or hunted. The newsletter is delivered free to subscribers. Subscribe or see archive issues here
Wildlife Resources' Nongame Conservation Section conserves and protects Georgia's diversity of native animals and plants and their habitats through research, management and education. The section receives no state funds, depending on grants, donations and fundraisers such as nongame license plate sales, the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff and Weekend for Wildlife.
Call (770) 761-3035 for details on direct donations. The nongame plates -- the bald eagle/U.S. flag and ruby-throated hummingbird -- are available for a one-time $25 fee at all county tag offices, by checking the wildlife license plate box on mail-in registration forms or through online renewal.