Wildlife Recruitment and the Next Generation

I started monitoring wildlife dens, nests and babies in late April. A Red Fox den was my first exciting project but it wasn’t long before there were kids everywhere and I longed for the ability to be set up in multiple locations simultaneously. There were fuzzy little killdeer the size of golf balls scurrying around in cultivated fields (Blog post on May 30, 2019: “The Shorebird Everyone Sees (or Hears!)”, a rabbits nest in the blueberry garden, a vulture nest and chicks in an abandoned hunting shack in the woods, a newborn whitetail fawn in a hay field, fidgety little red squirrels at the bird feeders, eaglets in a huge nest at the edge of town, tiny turkey poults disappearing in the tall grass in search of mom.

Better late than never; I must share the joy of watching the growth and development of these adorable youngsters.

Three of four red fox pups playing under the watchful eye of a parent; 25April2019

Young cottontails (three in all) about to leave the nest that they have outgrown; 29May2019

Just hours out of the nest – one of the bunnies from the previous image; 30May2019

The gang of three, continued: now 17 days on its own, but not far from the nest site; 15June2019

A newborn fawn (one of two), nearly invisible in a field of uncut hay; 27May2019

Fawns wanting to nurse, but mom giving them the boot; 14July2019

Wild turkey poults or chicks, foraging on insects and trying to keep up with mom; 17June2019

Young red squirrel on a threat learning curve: run, hide, or freeze in place?; 19June2019

Eaglets jockeying for position in a crowded nest; 23June2019

Vulture chicks, four weeks after hatching on the floor of a shack in the woods; 28June2019

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The vulture chicks with more adult plumage….and hissing loudly!; 8July2019 (flight in 3 weeks?)

Photos by NB Hunter (April 25 – July 14, 2019). © All rights reserved.

The Wonderful Month of June

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A favorite freestone stream in the mountains, alive with aquatic insects and foraging trout

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A massive White Pine with centuries of stories locked within

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Tiger Swallowtails “mud-puddling” to ingest nutrients and improve reproductive success

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A chatty House Wren, rewarding me for the nest box I hung on a garden post

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Taking a grooming timeout while guarding the nearby nest and solitary eaglet.

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird incubating 1-3 eggs; they’ll hatch in about 2 weeks

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An egg-laying Snapper; she dug her nest in roadside gravel near her swampy habitat 

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A month-old whitetail fawn learning about mobility

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Wild mustard colonizing a fallow field on a dairy farm

Photos by NB Hunter (June, 2018). © All rights reserved.

Early May Highlights, 2016

I’ve captured a sample of early May in Central New York, often dodging rain drops in the process. My mother had more than a passing interest in nature and would have loved this post.

She liked flowers, cultivated or wild, didn’t much matter.

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Fading glory: Red Trillium in a moist ravine, past peak bloom

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Willow (one of many species of wild willow shrubs)

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Wild Juneberry (also Serviceberry, Amelanchier or Shadbush)

She kept a bird feeder and enjoyed her backyard visitors. Early May was peak migration and full of surprises.

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Goldfinch perched near a Nyjer seed feeder

Of course everyone loves babies. These family photos would have been plastered all over the wall (and the real family photos pushed aside)!

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Family of Canadian Geese (there were 8 goslings in all, just a few days old)

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Bald Eagle, tearing small pieces from a kill to feed her 3 youngsters

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Raising young is a team effort: parent #2 arrives with a duck in its grasp (determined from another image in the sequence)!

Happy Mother’s Day

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.