wildlife

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

This week we bring you two birds with very different reputations. 

Lexi Krupp

Interlochen Public Radio welcomes Lexi Krupp this week as our new science and conservation reporter. Lexi comes to us from Gimlet Media, where she helped the “Science Vs” podcast team distinguish what’s fact from what’s not, and has written for a range of publications including Audubon and Vice.

 

She will lead IPR’s efforts to deepen the public’s understanding of the natural world, covering the land, water, forests, climate, wildlife and farms in upper Michigan.

Michigan DNR

Five elk have been poached this year, which makes it the worst elk poaching year on record, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

All the poaching cases for northern Michigan happened roughly within a month. 

Michigan DNR

 

A second elk has been poached in northern Michigan.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources says a bull elk was shot earlier this week in Montmorency County, north of Atlanta.

Another elk was shot last weekend in the Pigeon River State Forest in Otsego County.

DNR Lieutenant Jim Gorno says he believes a hunter may have mistook the most recent elk for a deer.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Gaylord authorities say a bull elk was poached near Vanderbilt.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A cougar was spotted in Gogebic County last month by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, making it the 39th cougar sighting in Michigan by the DNR since 2008.

Nearly all of those spottings have been in the Upper Peninsula.

The DNR says it's unlikely that there's a significant breeding population of cougars, otherwise known as moutain lions, in the U.P.

They say the animals likely emigrated to Michigan from South Dakota, Wyoming and northwest Nebraska.

Straits of Mackinac are a bird-of-prey superhighway

Apr 18, 2019
Kaye LaFond

Over four million people crossed the Straits of Mackinac last year. But they are also one of the busiest migration spots for raptors, or birds of prey, in the United States.

Coyotes survive Michigan winters. Could your dog?

Apr 2, 2019
Cheryl Bartz

Coyotes have an unmistakable howl that you’ll be hearing more and more as the weather warms up. They might have been quiet during the winter, but they weren’t hibernating. They can survive even a polar vortex. 

Domestic dogs share DNA with coyotes. That inspired Cheryl Bartz of Red Pine Radio to investigate whether dogs could also make it through a winter outside. 

Credit Seth Moore

Researchers are studying moose on Isle Royale to learn the impact of predators on the island.

US House committee talks cormorants in Alpena

Jun 11, 2018
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Some members of the U.S. House of Representatives are meeting in northern Michigan on Monday to discuss lethal control of a fish-eating bird. 

Quick warming of Otsego Lake causes fish die-off

Jun 8, 2018
University of Wisconsin

A large number of dead fish have been washing up on the shores of a lake near Gaylord. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the dead fish along Otsego Lake are adult white suckers that have died after spawning.

DNR biologist Dave Borgeson says fish die-offs happen in Michigan’s inland lakes every year, but this one is unusually large.

“There’s a lot more suckers this year,” says Borgeson. “I think it had to do with a late spring and then that really rapid warm up, which caused it to be a little more dramatic this year.”

Dan Kennedy / Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Environmentalists will celebrate the return of the Kirtland’s warbler this weekend.

The small songbird has been on the brink of extinction since 1973. It was put on the endangered species list that same year.

Great Lakes islands aim to help each other

Sep 29, 2017
Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

There are thousands of islands in the Great Lakes – most of them small and only suitable for wildlife.  But a few have people living there year-round, and there is a burgeoning plan to create an islands coalition.

Year-round island communities like the one at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie’s South Bass Island face challenges we don’t have here on the mainland.  Peter Huston works for Put-in-Bay’s Chamber of Commerce.  “It’s being able to have a reasonable year-round economy, transportation, food,” says Huston.

Leaping from branch to branch, bearing nuts and acorns, teasing backyard dogs by staying just out of reach; let’s face it — squirrels are so common in Michigan that it’s easy for us to take their presence for granted.

But, just as Holden Caufield worried about where the ducks go in winter, we got to wondering: where do squirrels go? Do they cluster up in hibernation holes? Or perhaps join Michigan snowbirds and head south to warmer locales?

Does killing coyotes make things safer for livestock?

Last winter, Stateside did a story about a sporting goods store near the Irish Hills that held a bounty hunt on coyotes. The store said the hunt came in response to customers who expressed worry about their chicken coops and family dogs.

Megan Draheim, a lecturer in conservation biology and human dimensions of wildlife at Virginia Tech, joined Stateside today with a differing perspective. She said there’s no evidence that killing coyotes makes livestock safer. In fact, she said it can make the coyote-human problem even worse.

We know hunters who take deer or goose out of season are poachers. But what about those who take a plant from a park or a reserve without permission?

They too are poachers and plant poaching can be a huge, illegal business.

The Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project has been tracking the rare ecosystem on Isle Royale for almost 60 years. What makes Isle Royale rare is that the island, located in Lake Superior roughly 50 miles from the Upper Peninsula, has just two main animals inhabiting it. The food chain is simple: The wolves are the predators and the moose are the prey.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

Recently, the tracking of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale led to an unlikely musical creation. 

Sam Corden

Researchers who work in wetlands in Michigan are taking a new approach to invasive plants. Instead of removing plants like phragmites and switchgrass, they’re harvesting them. They say these plants are a threat to biodiversity, but they can benefit farmers and even power homes.

A lot of people spent the Fourth of July weekend grilling out or swimming at the beach. But Cale Nordmeyer spent his time trudging through the muck and grasses in a Michigan wetland.

Nordmeyer works for the Minnesota Zoo and he’s on a mission with a small window of time. He’s part of a small team of researchers working to save endangered Poweshiek skipperlings.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has halted programs to reduce the number of cormorants in the Great Lakes region. The federal government and tribes in Michigan kill the birds to protect yellow perch, walleye and other fish. But the judge said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service overstepped its bounds when it authorized killing cormorants in more than 20 states.

Peter Payette visited the Les Cheneaux Islands in Michigan this week to talk to people who live there.

Carbon TV

A live webcam at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery has been getting a lot of attention. The camera sits 100 feet up in a tree. It's focused on a nest where a pair of eagles has been caring for two eggs.

Early Tuesday morning, one of the eggs hatched. And Tuesday afternoon, it appeared the second egg was close to hatching, too.

City of Gaylord

Wildlife officials say the elk population in northern Michigan is stable.

The state Department of Natural Resources uses two small airplanes to count the elk herd near Gaylord. This year, DNR estimates the herd at about 1,300 elk. That compares to about 1,000 elk in 2012.

Biologists say wild elk had disappeared from Michigan in the late 1800s. The elk herd that can be found today is descended from seven elk that were released in 1918.

That question might surprise those who didn't realize pigeons are "a thing" in the Metro Detroit area.

Immigrants from Belgium came to Detroit and brought their national passion of pigeon racing with them and it spread from there.

See this clip of an old pigeon race from the Detroit News:

A new threat to Michigan rattlesnakes

Jun 16, 2015

When you think about rattlesnakes, you might picture Arizona. Or Texas. Somewhere out in the desert. But one snake’s rattle doesn’t come from the deserts of the Southwest. It’s from the pine forests of Michigan.

In fact, Michigan is a stronghold for the eastern massasauga rattlesnake.

A serious health threat to state’s wild deer population has been detected in mid-Michigan. 

A six-year-old doe found in Haslett last month has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. 

The neurological disease is always fatal.  The disease is transmitted through saliva and other bodily fluids.   The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose. 

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