Monthly Archives: August 2014

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:

Green Toad

The Western Green Toad (Bufo debilis insidior) is often less than 2 inches in length. It is found in the more arid climates of Kansas, Colorado Utah and Texas. In Kansas it is only found in the southwest corner of the state. It is pale green with small black spots and bars on the dorsal surface. Some of these spots sometimes interconnect to form a reticulated network. Green Toads also have very large parotid glands (salivary glands) that extend from immediately behind the eye all the way to its forearm. Green Toads are secretive and may only be sighted immediately after rainfall. Breeding can occur from March throughout the summer. During this time males find aquatic breeding sites where they form choruses to attract females.

Westar Energy Green Team Youth Dove Hunt

Hunt to take place weekend following Labor Day

What better way for kiddos to gain dove hunting experience than to embark on a guided hunt over managed sunflower and wheat fields? The Westar Energy Green Team is hosting its annual youth dove hunt the second weekend of September to kick off dove season, and area youth are invited. The hunts will be conducted at JeffreyEnergyCenter, near St. Marys, September 6-7 and are open to youth 16 and younger. Hunters will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.  To register, call Barb Cornelius at (785) 575-8125 by Friday, Aug. 29.

Hunts will take place in the early morning or late afternoon. Hunters are asked to bring their own shotguns and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. Hunters age 16 must also have a Kansas hunting license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. Non-toxic shells will be provided.

Kanopolis Lake Waterfowl Blind Permit Drawing

Twenty-five hunting blinds will be available

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at KanopolisLake will host its annual waterfowl blind permit drawing Saturday, September 6 at 1:30 p.m. The drawing will be conducted at the Kanopolis Lake U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Information Center at105 Riverside Drive, below the KanopolisLake dam. Applicants must be at least 12 years old on the day of the drawing. Two members per household may be allowed to draw.

Applicants will be drawn at random to determine the order of site selection and permit application. Twenty-five blind sites will be available this year.

For more information, contact the Kanopolis Project Office at (785) 546-2294.

Osborne Hosts North Central Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair

Popular outdoor youth event provides variety of experiences


If it’s fun and you can do it outdoors, you’ll find it at the North Central Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair, September 6 in Osborne.  The event, which begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m., is limited to youth ages 17 and younger (all those 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult). The fair is truly a one-of-a-kind experience with shooting sports of all types, fly fishing, canoeing, fur trapping, outdoor photography and many other outdoor activities.

Youth must be registered by 11 a.m. the day of the event to be provided lunch and an opportunity to be drawn for door prizes that include a lifetime hunting license for a boy and a girl, hunting and fishing trips, and a weekend at an area lake cabin. Archery hunters 14 and older are invited to bring in their bows for tune-ups. It’s easy to find, just follow the signs to the west end of Main Street in Osborne.

This is the ninth year for the popular event, which is supported by the major sponsors listed below, as well as many local businesses and individuals. All registered youth get a free lunch, t-shirt and a chance to win prizes. All equipment and supplies are provided at no charge.

The North Central Kansas Outdoor Youth Fair is sponsored by the Osborne County Pheasants Forever Chapter, Osborne Gun Club, Nex-Tech, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and the Keith Hahn Memorial.

For more information contact: John Cockerham – 785-346-6527; Chris Lecuyer – 785-218-7818; or Cleo Hahn – 785-346-4541


Muskrat: Photo by Luke Ormand

Muskrat: Photo by Luke Ormand

Muskrat: Photo by Luke Ormand

The muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) is found throughout Kansas. It is a large semi-aqautic rodent that lives near slow moving streams, marshes or ponds. They dig entrances into the banks along these waterways to three-feet tall push-ups composed of vegetation and mud. They can remain underwater for fifteen minutes. Muskrats are protected from cold water by a thick fur consisting of two layers of hair. Their tail is flattened vertically. They are smaller than beavers with whom they share an environment and amicable relationship. Muskrats are most active at night but also near dawn and dusk. Muskrats mostly eat cattails, bur reed and other aquatic vegetation like water lily. Because of their eating habits, they play a significant role in determining the vegetation of prairie wetlands. They don’t store food for the winter. They also occasionally eat freshwater mussels, frogs, clams, snails, crayfish, fish, and small turtles. Large hawks and owls, foxes, coyotes and mink prey upon muskrats. Pike may take baby muskrats. Muskrats normally live in groups consisting of a male and female and their young. During the spring, muskrats may fight over preferred territory and potential mates.

Ring-necked snake

Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus) Photo from National Park Service.

Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus) Photo from National Park Service.

Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus) Photo from the National Park Service.

Ring-necked snakes are nocturnal although they may be seen sunning themselves for warmth on cloudy days. They are only slightly venomous and non-aggressive. They are conspicuous for the red or yellow ring around their neck. Dorsal coloration can vary between brown, black, gray & olive. When threatened, they react by exposing their red/orange posterior underbelly. Ring-necked snakes are often only10-15 inches long but they may grow to 2 feet long. During the day they are found under rocks, logs & leaf litter. They mate in the fall with delayed implantation. Three-five eggs are deposited in loose soil, rotten logs or ground litter in early summer.  The young hatch in late summer or early fall. They prey on small worms, smaller salamanders, frogs & juvenile snakes.

National Wildlife Federation joins sportsmen, conservation and business leaders to defend public lands

BOULDER, Colo. (Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014) – Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Collin O’Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s CEO and president, and business and conservation leaders Thursday to speak out for conserving America’s public lands and against attempts to sell or get rid of the lands that sustain fish and wildlife populations as well as hunting, fishing and the country’s multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry.


The National Wildlife Federation’s 49 state affiliates have unanimously approved a resolution that calls for keeping public lands in public hands and opposes large-scale exchanges, sales or giveaways of federally managed lands. This week, 41 of the state affiliates sent a letterto the Republican National Committee asking that it rescind a resolution adopted this year that urges Congress to turn over public lands to the Western states that want them.


The affiliates noted that public lands help grow America’s economy by supporting an outdoor recreation industry that generates $646 billion in economic benefit annually and supports 6.1 million jobs. The organizations stressed that wise stewardship of the lands that belong to all Americans is a long tradition that cuts across political and social lines.


“Despite the economic importance of federal lands to wildlife and people, they remain under constant threat. In recent years, several state legislative proposals have called on the federal government to transfer ownership of public lands to the states, which in turn would pass them off to private interests in many instances,” the organizations wrote.


The Interior Department’s latest annual economic report shows the agency’s programs and activities generated $360 billion in benefits and supported more than 2 million jobs nationwide in fiscal 2013. Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar started preparing the reports in 2009 to highlight the department’s contributions to the U.S. economy.


“The nation’s public lands are the birthright and priceless heritage of all Americans. Our policymakers and elected leaders should be working to preserve and enhance these multiple use economic engines,” said Salazar, who served as Interior secretary from 2009 to 2013.


The National Wildlife Federation is on the front lines of conserving fish and wildlife and the places where they live, and in large part those places are public lands, O’Mara said.


“The National Wildlife Federation, our 49 state affiliates, and four million members and supporters strongly support keeping our public lands in public hands.  As a diverse federation of hunters, anglers, hikers, wildlife watchers, and nature lovers, we are united in our passion for protecting public lands, which provide amazing outdoor experiences for all Americans, landscapes for deer, elk, pronghorn, and bison herds to migrate, forests for grizzlies, bighorn sheep and lynx, and critical habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 1,000 species of fish and 250 reptile and amphibian species.  For more than a century, protecting land for the benefit all outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife has been an essential element of the American experience—and we must pass on this legacy to future generations,” O’Mara said.


The wildlife federations have worked through the years to conserve the public lands necessary for fish and wildlife and hunting and fishing and will continue to do, said David Chadwick, Montana Wildlife Federation executive director.


“Every few decades this idea of selling off public land pops up, and public opinion always beats it back.  Meanwhile, the challenges facing our national forests and other public lands have continued to grow,” Chadwick added.  “We need our elected officials to quit wasting time on these speculative, ideological proposals and instead take action on the common-sense, collaborative efforts under way all over the country to improve land management.”


Surveys and polls show overwhelming support for public lands among voters in the West, the target of many of the drives to dispose of public land. That support extends beyond the region to other parts of the country where hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts enjoy the backcountry, rivers and forests, said Tim Gestwicki, the North Carolina Wildlife Federation CEO.


“Sportsmen and women and wildlife watchers in the Southeast value our public lands, from the Appalachians to the coast. We also value the Western lands and their abundant wildlife, big open spaces and great hunting and fishing. We stand with our fellow sportsmen and women in defending public lands and protecting the special places that offer some of the best of what this country is about,” Gestwicki said.


“Sportsmen are on the front line in this effort to prevent the transfer of federal public lands. These are the very lands where we hunt and fish, and where we pass on those traditions to our kids. The idea that somehow our federal public lands are dispensable is an affront to all hunters and anglers, and we are determined to protect these lands for ourselves and for future generations,” said Garrett VeneKlasen, executive director of theNew Mexico Wildlife Federation.


America’s national parks, monuments and rugged landscapes are not only a draw for people in this country, but across the world, said Peter Metcalf, CEO and president of Black Diamond, Inc., a leading manufacturer of outdoor sports equipment and clothing.


“No other country in the world has the public land infrastructure that we have. There’s such a richness of landscape and wildlife. Our public lands and outdoor recreation and lifestyles are coveted by people around the world and are a draw for communities and employers competing for new businesses and workers,” Metcalf said. “Black Diamond’s brand is synonymous with these iconic landscapes that capture the imagination of people all over the world.  In addition they are a source of inspiration for our designers, engineers and marketing people.”



Additional Resources: `Valuing our Public Lands: Safeguarding our Economy and Way of Life,’


National Wildlife Federation affiliates’ resolution on transfer of public lands:


NWF affiliates’ letter on transfer, sale of public lands:

Kansas Ducks Unlimited to Host Greenwing Goose Banding Event

The event will be held August 30 at the Jamestown Wildlife Area

Have you ever wondered how geese are banded? Well now is your opportunity to not only learn about the process, but also be a part of it. On August 30, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism staff, in conjunction with Kansas Ducks Unlimited, will be relocating resident Canada Geese at Jamestown Wildlife Area and anyone with an interest in Kansas waterfowl management is invited to join. Participants are asked to meet at the Jamestown Wildlife Area headquarters, 299 Marsh Trail, Jamestown, where registration will open at 7 a.m., and banding will begin at 7:30 a.m.

Apart from handling birds, participants will learn about the life cycle of Canada geese, as well as what information banding efforts can provide. Lunch will be available for $5.00 per person. Following lunch, participants can also enjoy a guided tour of the Jamestown Wildlife Area given by area managers.

Participants may attend all or part of the event, but all participants must be registered. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Participants planning on handling birds are encouraged to wear older clothes. Close-toed shoes and boots are also recommended, as well as bug spray and sun screen.

Nearby lodging can be found at:

For more information, or to obtain a participation form, contact Kansas Ducks Unlimited regional director, Josh Williams at [email protected].