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

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By NCWRC blogger on 2/7/2014 8:07 AM
Little Washington is the place to be this coming weekend as the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships gets underway, starting on Friday at 6 p.m. with a special preview event and oyster roast. Tickets for this event are $40 per person, and include admittance to the entire festival, which opens to the public on Saturday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Tickets the weekend are $12.

During the special preview on Friday night, festival organizers will unveil the portrait that will become the 2014 North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp and Print, also known as the North Carolina duck stamp.

Along with more than 75 other vendors and exhibitors, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will have a booth at the festival, in the sportsman tent, located in front of the North Carolina Estuarium at 223...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/5/2014 3:58 PM
This is reprinted from a news release dated July 10, 2008.

 RALEIGH, N.C. (July 10, 2008) – As a wildlife biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, he helped bolster populations of game animals across the state, from raccoons, to wild turkeys to waterfowl. But it wasn’t until he agreed to take on a fledgling program dedicated to the conservation of nongame wildlife — animals without an open season — that Randall C. Wilson found his true calling.

The dedication and tenacity that he put in to growing the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program from a staff of four in 1988 to more than 25 biologists 20 years later, and the conservation achievements that resulted, have earned Wilson the Commission’s most prestigious honor, the Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award.

Wilson was presented with the award...
By NCWRC blogger on 10/31/2013 10:56 AM


Written by: Brad Howard

Have you seen this picture in an email or on Facebook lately?  We have! This photo has been passed around to numerous folks over the last month with claims that it has been taken in various locations across North Carolina. 

More recently, some attention was given to a few reports of “a black panther” in Stokes County. There were no photographs or other verifiable evidence to support those reports. While very rare, jaguars, leopards, the jaguarundi and even bobcats can have black coats but there has never been a documented occurrence of a melanistic phase (black) cougar in North America.

So, any report of a “black panther” or a “large black cat” is most likely mistaken identity since only the above-mentioned cats have a black phase and only one of those cats is native,...
By NCWRC blogger on 8/12/2013 8:02 AM
By: Matthew Godfrey, Biologist, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Project  

The normal sea turtle nesting season in North Carolina runs from May through August and loggerhead sea turtles continue to visit sandy oceanside beaches to lay their eggs. So far this year, 1085 loggerhead nests have been observed and protected by citizen volunteers and cooperators from private,local, state and federal organizations, as part of the N.C. Sea Turtle Project, coordinated by biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

There also have been almost two dozen nests laid by green turtles and one leatherback nest laid in Fort Fisher Recreation Area, which is located in New Hanover County. While the nesting season is close to being over, the hatching season is kicking into high gear. Sea turtle eggs need 50-60 days to incubate in the sand, before small hatchling sea turtles are produced and hatch out of the approximately 120 eggs in each sea turtle nest. The hatchlings dig together up through the sand and emerge on the beach surface in a large group, usually only at night, and scurry to the ocean to begin their journey around the North Atlantic.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/20/2013 1:14 PM
Spring arrived this morning although you wouldn’t know it by the temperature outside — a brisk mid-30s throughout most of the Piedmont, and in the mountains, a downright bone-chilling mid-to-upper 20s.

Look past the temperatures though, and you can see and hear many signs of spring. From the azaleas that bloom a cornucopia of reds,oranges, pinks and whites to the forsythia that glows golden in the shimmery sunshine to the Eastern towhee that trills a metallic yet musical “drink your tea” for his mate, the season of hope, renewal and love is upon us —and not a moment too soon.

Here are our top 10 sights and sounds of spring, in noparticular order.

10) Although they’re year-round residents in North Carolina, American robins are not seen as often during the winter, preferring to spend much of their time roosting in trees.  But come early spring,...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/22/2013 12:32 PM


2013 is the Year of the Snake, both on the Chinese calendar and as designated by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, an organization dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

PARC designated 2013 as the Year of the Snake to help raise awareness about these truly magnificent animals and the threats and human perceptions that contribute to their decline.

Perhaps no other animal on this planet is as maligned as the snake, mostly due to the many, varied and often comical misconceptions people have about snakes. Jeff Hall, a biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission who is also the coordinator of the N.C. chapter of PARC, is here to dispel a few common myths about snakes.

Snakes are slimy.This is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about snakes and the answer is, no, they’re not. In fact, they are dry and usually cool to the touch.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/18/2013 5:20 PM
Bald eagle watching is exciting any time of the year, but if you need some motivation to watch these majestic birds, we have it. January is National Bald Eagle Watch Month across the country.

North Carolina is now agood place to watch bald eagles, thanks to restoration projects begun in the early 1980s.

The Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund, through the North Carolina income tax check-off, helped fund the Wildlife Resources Commission’s first nongame wildlife biologist. One of the first conservation projects undertaken by the nongame wildlife biologist was restoring bald eagles at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in 1983.

Before 1982, North Carolina had no breeding pairs of bald eagles. Because of the eagle restoration work, and the expansion of eagle populations in neighboring states, North Carolina now has more than 125 nesting...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/21/2012 1:25 PM
Once the gifts are unwrapped and the turkey is eaten on Christmas Day, forgo that comfy couch and instead head outdoors with your binoculars and bird ID guide in hand to participate in the longest-running citizen-science survey in the world.

Now in its 113th Year, the Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a perfect way for you to make an enormous contribution to bird conservation in North Carolina, regardless if you’re a backyard birder or a serious field observer. Best of all, it’s free and pretty easy to do, too. Just visit Audubon’s website to sign up and find a count near you.

According to Audubon,which organizes the annual count, the count takes place within “count circles,” which focus on specific geographical areas. Each circle is led by a count compiler and each count is conducted on a specific day. Once you sign up,you’ll find a list of more than 50 Christmas Bird Count circles located across the state, as well as the email addresses for the count compilers. Some count compilers request pre-registrations. Others just advise you to show up on the day of the count.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/27/2012 11:21 AM
Last year North Carolina hunters harvested more than 2,000 black bears, from the mountains to the coast. And while those bears might be a great accomplishment and trophy to the hunters who bagged them, they are just as valuable to us at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
By NCWRC blogger on 11/15/2012 9:36 AM
Bennett Wynne, a biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries, was recognized at the Commission’s business meeting last week for selection as the 2012 Fisheries Biologist of the Year — an honor bestowed on him by the Southeastern Association of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
By NCWRC blogger on 11/9/2012 1:20 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (Nov. 9, 2012) — State Fairs and County Fairs may have ended last month, but follow-up work and debriefings continue into the winter. One topic of discussion within the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission addresses the Wildlife Diversity Buttons T-shirt that was developed in cooperation with Neuse Sport Shop this year as a fund-raiser for the Wildlife Diversity Program.
By NCWRC blogger on 10/30/2012 10:09 AM
RALEIGH,N.C. (Oct. 30, 2012) — Chalk up this topic as one of the things that make you go, “Hmmmmmmmmmmm.” Think about it. It wasn’t that long ago when we all would have yawned at the idea of buying, selling and trading water rights as a natural resource commodity as valuable as timber rights or mineral rights. And we would have outright LOLed (had we known what the acronym stood for) at the thought of going to the grocery store to buy bottled spring water, water filters, flavored water, and just plain ol’ drinking water.

But these days water is, indeed, a limiting factor — an important resource to consider in community planning for humans, and an integral factor in the equation of fish and wildlife management. Nowhere is this more important than in the arid Southwest of the United States where wildlife managers and biologists...
By NCWRC blogger on 6/6/2012 9:36 AM
I’m a desk jockey. I sit at my desk for 7, 8 maybe 9 hours a day cranking out information about wildlife in North Carolina. So, when I had a chance to participate in an education workshop about alligators, I jumped at the chance. After all, it isn’t every day that I get up close and personal with animals that I write about. 

I attended the recent “Alligators in North Carolina” workshop, conducted by Coastal Outreach Education Specialist Mike Campbell at Lake Waccamaw. If you’ve never attended a workshop by Campbell, I recommend doing so. He has an engaging manner and a lecture style that make the workshop informative, funny at times, and always enjoyable. Campbell began the four-hour workshop with a discussion on alligators — their habitats, habits, human interactions, ranges, mating preferences, calls, those sorts of things — an “Alligators for Dummies,” if you will.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 5/9/2012 10:13 AM
Yes, it’s cute.

It has white spots, a sweet face and skinny little legs, and looks so very alone sitting in the brush by itself.  

What’s a well-meaning person to do, but bring that fawn home, take care of it and make it a pet?

Please don’t.

While that fawn might look abandoned, it’s probably not. White-tailed deer are a “hider species,” meaning a doe hides her young in brush, grass or other vegetation during the first two or three weeks of its life while she feeds. Sometimes, a well-intentioned person might approach the fawn, and, thinking it is abandoned, try and rescue it. This can be hazardous to both the people and the deer. And despite how helpless it looks, a fawn is well-equipped to protect itself. By the time it is 5 days old, already it can outrun a human. At 3 to 6 weeks of age, fawns can escape most predators.

Moving a young fawn can stress it, and cause it illness or death. In addition, a friendly fawn will soon grow into an adult deer, and can become aggressive and dangerous. Also, a deer that is used to people can’t be released — as it is ill-equipped to live in the wild.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/17/2012 8:56 AM
You may glance at this video and wonder just what the heck these folks are doing to these birds.

Catching them in nets. Ruffling their feathers. Putting shiny silver rings on their legs.

But trust us, people — this is all in the name of good, sound science.

Banding songbirds, like these scientists are doing, is a tool to determine waxing and waning songbird populations, habits and habitats. All in a day’s work for some of the biologists from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation,

Here, biologists are determining songbird populations in the Sandy Run Savannas State Natural Area. They catch the birds in mist nests, which cause no harm, and carefully examine and record each bird’s age, weight and other characteristics. They also fit each bird’s leg with a numbered band, which is registered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, so that if that bird is caught again, anywhere in the world, its location can be noted and monitored.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/4/2012 8:00 AM
If you missed the first two workshops, Amphibians in North Carolina, there’s still time to register for the third and final workshop this spring. “Amphibians and Reptiles in North Carolina” will be held on April 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Carolina Beach State Park in New Hanover County.

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission personnel Jeff Hall and Mike Campbell once again will be conducting this workshop. Hall is a herpetologist with the Commission, as well as coordinator of the North Carolina chapter of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation — a partnership dedicated to the conservation of reptiles, amphibians and their habitats. Campbell is an education specialist for the Commission in southeastern North Carolina.

The workshop is free and open to participants 16 years old and older who want to learn more about “herps,” as...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/21/2012 11:14 AM
The dreaded Tax Day is fast approaching — April 17 this year.

But you don’t have to get too down about Tax Day. Dispel depression and alleviate anxiety you may feel about April 17 by donating to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund this year. We promise — you will feel so much better about Tax Day after making a donation on line 28 of your N.C. State Income tax form.

That’s because your donation will be supporting projects and programs that benefit nongame and endangered wildlife in North Carolina, as well as funding educational activities and watchable wildlife projects like the North Carolina Birding Trail.

Even better, every dollar in tax donations given to the fund is matched with federal money and other grants, so your donated dollars actually count twice. For example, if you make a $50 donation, the nongame and endangered...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/24/2012 8:31 AM
What looks like a dragon, swims like a fish and only occurs in two drainages in North Carolina? It’s the Neuse River waterdog, and biologists are surveying for this species of special concern to determine how it is faring in the wilds of North Carolina.

 

Neuse River waterdogs can reach sizes of up to 11 inches, and, like their name, live in the Neuse River, and also the Tar-Pamlico River. The presence or absence of these fascinating-looking critters in these rivers and their tributaries may indicate the status of the water quality. No waterdogs could mean negative changes have adversely affected the water bodies.

 

Sadly, biologists suspect the species may be on the decline. About 30 years ago, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences surveyed 360 sites for the salamanders. Today, biologists are going back and resurveying...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/21/2012 3:57 PM


Do you yearn to learn about salamanders, frogs and toads, collectively known as amphibians? What about snakes, lizards and alligators, collectively known as reptiles? If so, join N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission personnel Jeff Hall and Mike Campbell for one of three workshops they are conducting in February and March for anyone 16 years and older who is conservation-minded and doesn’t care about the possibility of getting their shoes wet and dirty.  

 

Two of the workshops — the Feb. 29 workshop at Camp Agape and the April 5 workshop at Cool Springs Environmental Education Center — will focus on amphibians. Both will start at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m., with classroom instruction in the morning on conservation, basic biology and habitat requirements of frogs, toads and salamanders, as well as the effects...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/7/2012 11:30 AM
If you appreciate art, love wildlife, and enjoy the outdoors, a road trip to Washington, N.C., should be on your itinerary this weekend.  Along the scenic waterfront of this small Inner Banks town is where the 17th Annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships gets under way, starting Friday at 9 a.m. 

Stop by the Washington Civic Center Friday night to see the unveiling of the portrait that will become the 2012 North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp and Print, also known as the North Carolina duck stamp.

This is the first year that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is offering the print and stamp at a special price of $120 — that’s $25 off the normal price. We’ll have a booth set up in the Civic Center on the stage and will take payments for advance purchases — credit card, personal checks and cash — the entire weekend. The print and stamp will be available on July 1.

Commission personnel also will be selling subscriptions...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/19/2012 12:33 PM
Do you know someone who ...

... has made outstanding contributions to wildlife diversity in North Carolina?

... is considered a leader in wildlife resources conservation?

If you know someone, or are someone, who meets the qualifications above, you’ll want to note that the deadline for submitting a nomination for the seventh annual Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity award is fast approaching.

The deadline is Jan. 30 to complete and submit a nomination form and a detailed explanation of the nominee’s contributions to wildlife conservation. Please limit the explanation to two pages (8 ½ x 11-inch paper, with 1-inch margins, single spaced and 12-point font). Submissions that exceed the 2-page limit will be disqualified and returned to the nominator.

You can download the form here and submit it, along with the explanation, by:

·         E-mailing martha.homovec@ncwildlife.org;...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/5/2012 9:08 AM
Joe Schmoe knows a guy who knows guy whose brother was a game warden who swears when he was on staff at the Wildlife Commission, biologists dropped dozens of rattlesnakes from helicopters. Many folks tell this story.

Sometimes, the story is “legitimized” by adding details:  Wildlife dropped the snakes (with parachutes?) to control the deer population, and the rattler-stocking project was conducted under the cover of night from black, stealth helicopters to stay off the public’s radar screen.

Still others weave a tale of biologists wanting to replenish a dwindling population of rattlesnakes in Hanging Rock State Park.

Sounds exciting. Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on how much you like snakes — it’s not true. This is one of a few rumors that circulate around North Carolina, despite the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s  persistent efforts to...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/21/2011 11:37 AM
Looking for a neat way to get outdoors over the holidays?

By participating in the Christmas Bird Count, you can get some fresh air and help wildlife. Organized by the National Audubon Society, the count sends citizen scientists — the volunteers — outdoors to count all the birds they can identify in a 24-hour period. The numbers provide information used to gauge the health of wintering bird populations.

Counts are going on right now, and you don’t need experience. Check out the National Audubon Society’s FAQ page for more information. For more places and ways to watch birds, visit www.ncbirdingtrail.org.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/21/2011 11:13 AM
See the Wildlife Commission’s Mobile Aquarium and talk to Division of Inland Fisheries staff at the upcoming Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo, Jan. 6-8, at the fairgrounds located at 1025 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh.

The Mobile Aquarium allows the Wildlife Commission to display live fish — trout in a “mountain stream” tank and bass, bluegill and longnose gar in a “coastal river” tank.  You can’t eat ‘em, but it’s a good chance to see live game fish and non-game fish up close and personal.  You can also get some face time with Wildlife Commission fisheries staff to chat up fishing or the latest fisheries management work being conducted on your favorite reservoirs and rivers. Tight...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/30/2011 2:11 PM

If you are a hunter, encourage others to hunt. With many hunting seasons under way, now is the time and it is important.  Sportsmen provide the economic backbone for habitat conservation; wildlife research and resource protection and we need more in the ranks. It is up to us to “Hunt Like The Future Depends On It.” Here’s what my buddy Travis Casper, acting hunting education coordinator, said about it: “For the future of conservation, the next generation needs to hunt. It’s that important. Sportsmen provide the economic backbone for habitat conservation, wildlife research and resource protection. We need to mentor youth and present a positive image of hunting to everyone.”

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