Stacey Cole's Nature Talks: Nongame, Endangered Wildlife Program turns 25
This week's Rare Bird Alert
For many years, cottontail rabbits lived in a patch of woods that bordered our side lawn here at the farm. On summer evenings, after the hustle and bustle of our day's activities had ceased, young bunnies would appear.
Again quoting from Wild Lines: "The year 2012 proved to be the most hopeful yet for bringing back the New England cottontail, as successful habit management and captive-rearing efforts began to see results." Heidi Holman, a biologist with the Nongame Program, said: "Over 450 acres of habitat have been managed on both public and private lands.The regeneration takes time. Some of the areas that were cut a few years ago are just beginning to re-grow into the thick, shrub habitat that cottontails need." (Encouragingly, biologists saw the rabbits using one of these areas for the first time this year.) "In early 2011, wild New England Cottontails were trapped from population strongholds in Connecticut and brought to Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I., to initiate the captive breeding program. Then in December of that year, the first captive-bred cottontails were released into a pen built especially for them at the Ninigret Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island. This was a pilot project to try introducing them into the wild from captivity," said Holman."
Butterflies were on the mind of a New Boston reader who wrote on April 1: "I was picking up brush in my yard Saturday afternoon and saw my first butterfly. It flitted from here to there for about five minutes. Isn't that an early appearance? I've yet to cut back my butterfly plants as I leave them up all winter long. Birds visit them while waiting their turn at the bird feeders. Just had to tell you of the early arrival of my butterfly."
A Merrimack reader forwarded three photos I found interesting, especially the ones that showed a bluebird at the suet feeder. That, I had never seen before. In one photo a bluebird was facing upward on one end of the suet cage, and a male downy woodpecker was feeding upside down on the other.
Our reader wrote: "Came back for 3 years now to nest in a hanging plant under the eaves of our screened porch! Year-old brown holly bushes help hide the nest!" House finches are known to nest in house plants. But wrens? Possibly.
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