Daily Archives: August 23, 2014

Outdoor Wildlife Learning Sites (OWLS)

Over 206 OWLS are living testimonials for establishing wildlife habitat on school sites that provide hands-on environmental awareness experiences for children of all ages. OWLS sites provide fantastic opportunities for learning more about nature through such activities as planting trees, establishing butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and creating wetlands for tadpoles.

Any school or youth organization can apply for the initial $2,000 OWLS grant for the development of an out-of-doors learning site. The first step is to obtain a copy of the guidelines and organize an OWLS committee to assist in the planning stage of your site. Most OWLS involve local sponsors, such as county extension agents, Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel and a district biologist from the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Chances are excellent that your site will be funded, allowing you to experience the magic of these miraculous out-of-door learning sites. For a copy of the OWLS guidelines or additional information call (620) 672 – 0751. For a multitude of additional online information including OWLS Guidelines, resources, curriculum connections & more click here.

Tips for Releasing a Hooked Bird

From The Birding Wire

Wherever fishermen and birds overlap, sooner or later a bird gets hooked or entangled in fishing line. What happens next will determine the fate of the bird: If the fisherman cuts the line, the bird likely will die from starvation, as its capacity to forage is impaired, or dehydration, if the line becomes entangled in the trees at its roost site. Or a savvy fisherman will reel the bird in, set it free, and save its life. But to protect him or her self from the bird, which will flap long wings, squawk loudly, and snap its beak, a fisherman needs to take some basic precautions:

♦ Put on sunglasses or other eye protection.

♦ Enlist a partner to help with controlling the bird.

♦ Grasp the bird’s head firmly and then cover the eyes with a towel, shirt, or even a hat to calm it.

♦ Fold the wings up and secure the feet, holding firmly.

♦ Cut off the hook’s barb and back the hook out. This removes the hook without causing more damage to the bird.

♦ Check the bird for other hooks or line and remove them too. Often a bird has been hooked before.

♦ Put the bird on the dock or ground, facing the water and step back. A feisty bird is likely to survive.

If the bird is seriously injured, has swallowed the hook, or doesn’t fly, it should be taken to a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator. Call the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for one near you.

Congratulations! You have saved the life of a bird!

Wildlife Advocates Score a Win at CapeHatteras

Recent Court Ruling Upholds Law Protecting Wildlife Habitat from Off-Road Vehicles

By Chelsea Harvey

Audubon Newsletter

There’s been a victory for birds–and, in fact, all wildlife–at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

A law limiting off-road vehicle (ORV) access to the beach will remain in place, thanks to a June ruling by the Eastern District Court of North Carolina. The law is part of an effort to protect the vulnerable wildlife that make their home on the coast, though it had been challenged by a group of ORV enthusiasts hoping to get back on the beach.

The law has been hotly contested since its inception more than two years ago. Plans to better protect the shore began when the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife in order to preserve the local wildlife. The suit targeted ORVs on beaches, because these vehicles often crush eggs, confuse turtle hatchlings, and drive wildlife from the shore. In February 2012, the National Park Service implemented a new plan, which limited ORV access at certain locations and times, much to the chagrin of the off-roading community, which has vocally opposed the regulations.

The off-roaders quickly mobilized, creating the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance, and within the month filed a lawsuit to overturn the law. The court process lasted two years, culminating in the resolution to deny the lawsuit this June.

Some opponents of the law have argued that it could suppress tourism at the beach, but Walker Golder, deputy director of Audubon North Carolina, says the economy is looking good. “There’s been economic benefit from having a balanced plan in place,” he says, explaining that visitation to the seashore has actually been up since the plan was enacted. Audubon North Carolina has previously estimated that only 2 percent of seashore visitors drive ORVs.

Still, Golder believes the conversation will be ongoing. “This is an important step, but the off-road vehicle advocates have stated clearly that they will continue to fight it,” he says.

For now, the ruling is at least a temporary victory for CapeHatteras, which is an essential habitat for nesting birds, turtles, and other wildlife.

“The National Parks and Seashores in the U.S. are some of the finest in the world, and they’ve been set aside to protect some of the most significant places in the country,” Golder says. “They are, if you will, symbols of what this country is all about, and they need to be protected for everything they offer to everyone.”

To view a short video on beach protection, go to the following link: