Conserve & Protect
The Blog of N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

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By NCWRC blogger on 11/25/2015 1:40 PM
Did you know that the oak toad is the smallest toad found in North America, measuring less than 2 inches in length as an adult? Or that the two-toed amphiuma, North Carolina’s largest native salamander, has a wicked set of teeth that it won’t hesitate to use if it feels threatened?

Participants at the Amphibian Identification Workshop learned these fun facts, as well as other interesting information, about the many amphibian species of eastern North Carolina. The workshop, conducted by Wildlife Commission employees Jeff Hall and Mike Campbell, was one of several held each year for educators, natural resource professionals and others who have an interest and a desire to learn more about amphibians in the Tar Heel state. They conducted the latest workshop on Nov. 12 at the Cool Springs Environmental Education Center in New Bern — a wildlife haven for many species of animals, but in particular frogs, toads and salamanders.

By NCWRC blogger on 10/30/2015 10:18 AM
What’s scarier than bats at Halloween? A world without bats, that’s what.

While bats may get a bad rap, they are hugely important in the ecosystem, playing key roles in keeping us healthy and well fed.

Consider this:

 Bats eat tons of insects, like mosquitoes that can carry diseases that make us sick. A nursing female bat may consume almost her entire body weight in insects in one night.  Bats are important pollinators and seed spreaders, both of which aid in plant reproduction and forest regrowth. But bats are in trouble. BIG trouble because of a deadly disease known as white-nose syndrome. It has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States, including bats in western North Carolina. Some bat hibernacula — caves and mines — in western North Carolina have seen dramatic population declines although these declines associated with the deadly disease appear to be leveling off in some areas.

By NCWRC blogger on 6/24/2015 9:55 AM
By Daniel Morgan, Director of Communications, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.™

 [Editor’s Note: This blog is reprinted with permission of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.™ (PHWFF), which operates its Fayetteville program through Program Leader Tom Carpenter, who also is an educator at the Wildlife Commission’s Pechmann Center.]

On Saturday, June 22, the Fayetteville, N.C., Program of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) held one of its monthly fishing outings at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville. This was one of the Fayetteville program’s monthly local fishing outings that give participants the opportunity to work with volunteers and develop their fishing and casting skills.

The John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center is a unique, family-oriented fishing experience.   Built in 2007, the Pechmann Center is the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/17/2015 12:15 PM
Those fast-flying, tiny jewels of the sky are back. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are now showing up at feeders around the state, having spent the long, cold winter in Mexico and Central America.

At one time, they could be found in North Carolina only in the spring through fall; however, with the rise of backyard feeders, many hummingbirds decide to stay throughout the winter, mainly along the coast.

The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird species that nests in the eastern part of North America. These hummingbirds prefer to breed and nest in deciduous forests, mixed woodlands and sometimes pine forests, and can often be found nesting in wooded residential areas. They typically build small nests of lichens and spider webs that are small in comparison to other birds’ nests — approximately 1 to 2 inches high and 1½ inches wide. They...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/10/2015 2:34 PM
By John Broughton, Jr.

Here’s a photo of my 12-year-old son Cody and his first turkey.  Cody and I went turkey hunting in Nash County on opening day of Youth-Only Turkey Season last Saturday (April 4) just outside of Nashville, N.C. We were hunting on a 300-acre farm we leased through Hunt NC Farmland Program of the NCDA&CS.

I scouted the property a few days earlier for turkeys just before season opened and with the owner’s information and help, I learned the loose patterns of the turkeys wanderings on the farm.

Cody and I made a plan for opening morning and I patterned his gun a few days before. On opening morning, we gathered our gear — tent-style blind, two turkey decoys, two chairs, snacks, water, calls, shotgun, etc. Then, we walked in with all of this on our backs through the pastures to the spot we wanted...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/2/2015 4:13 PM
By Christopher D. Kreh, Upland Game Bird Biologist

Each year, hunters hear turkeys gobbling prior to the opening of the spring gobbler season and express interest in opening the season earlier. As a result, managers are often pressured to set earlier opening dates for spring gobbler seasons. But, according to Kennamer’s research published in 2006, “the consequences of early hunting seasons may create scenarios that harm turkeys and turkey hunting more than hunters realize.”

The whole premise of a spring gobbler season — of it being biologically sound to hunt gobblers in the spring — is based upon harvesting birds after breeding has occurred. Gobblers play no part in nesting or brood rearing. Their role is breeding. After breeding,...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/9/2015 8:03 AM
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And where there’s fire, at least on a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission game land, there’s usually a prescribed burn — one of the best and most cost-effective methods of managing habitat for wildlife.

A prescribed burn, or an intentional burning of vegetation under strict and specific circumstances, helps restore and maintain wildlife habitat. It is a cost-effective tool that Commission staff uses to create and maintain suitable and ample wildlife habitat in old fields, native grasslands and open-canopy woodlands on game lands throughout the state.

The most common prescribed burns Commission staff conducts are restoration burns and maintenance burns. Restoration burns, as their name implies, are done on fire-dependent habitats that haven’t been burned in years. These habitats include longleaf,...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/20/2015 4:38 PM
Free turkey hunting seminars co-presented by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation are approaching capacity in Raleigh, but space still remains for seminars across the state.

“We often hear comments about how the introductory seminars are great, and how much hunters look forward to attending the advance seminars,” said Walter “Deet” James, the Commission’s hunting heritage biologist. “We enjoy the feedback — particularly the photos of turkeys harvested by individuals who attended our seminars.”

James offered five turkey hunting tips as a preview of the upcoming seminars:

·         NEVER move or reposition your firearm when you can see a gobbler’s eyes. Wait for the gobbler to pass behind a tree or brush then move quickly and deliberately.

·         When you think you’ve waited too long for a gobbler to come into range, wait 10 more minutes.

By NCWRC blogger on 1/21/2015 1:23 PM
Last week, we discussed a few different species of birds that winter in North Carolina. This week, we’re going to take a closer look at where to spot these wintering birds, as well as other birds that call the Tar Heel state home throughout the year.

Winter is an ideal time to go birding for several reasons. The leaves are off the trees, at least the deciduous trees anyway, which makes birds easier to spot. Food is scarcer so birds are more inclined to visit backyard feeders. It’s cold, which means less people are in the woods and in the field, making noise and disrupting birds.

But where to look for birds? Fortunately, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has a great website that provides information on 327 sites across the state that comprise the N.C. Birding Trail.

Perhaps the website’s best feature is a map that allows visitors to browse sites by location, using a Google map interface. When visitors click on a map site, they will see...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/15/2015 4:12 PM
It’s cold. It’s dreary. The days are short and the nights are long. In other words, it’s winter.

But even though it’s winter, you can still do some wildlife watching because, unlike other forms of wildlife (we’re looking at you, snakes, bears and bats), birds don’t mind the cold, the dreariness, the winter. In fact, several species of birds can be seen only in North Carolina in the winter. Today, let’s take a closer look at a few of the birds that are found in North Carolina only in the winter and how you can attract them to your backyards. And if you’re not backyard birder, check back with us next week when we’ll be looking at some good birding sites in North Carolina.  


Dark-Eyed Junco

Although they’re ground-feeding birds, dark-eyed juncos are frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders in the winter. You can usually spot dark-eyed juncos, which are dark grey or brown with a pink bill and white outer tail feathers, hopping on the ground, eating the seed that has fallen to the ground from the feeder. This medium-sized sparrow prefers black-oil sunflower seed, millet, safflower seed, among other seeds. Except in the mountains where they are found year-round in middle-to-higher elevations, black-eyed juncos usually show up in North Carolina in the fall and depart for colder climates to our north as the weather warms in the spring.


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