Tag Archives: Bird Watching

Kentucky Sandhill Crane Hunt is On

On Monday, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to approve a sandhill crane hunting season in the commonwealth.

This would be the first sandhill hunting opportunity east of the Mississippi river.

Read more about the controversy surrounding the (then proposed) season here.

Story Link: State agency approves sandhill crane hunt | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.


Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Proposed sandhill crane season in Kentucky controversial

If you’re looking to hunt a sandhill crane, you might be interested in the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting today.  On the agenda is a proposal to make the Bluegrass State (actually a commonwealth) the first state east of the Mississippi river to offer sandhill hunting.

Biologists for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources have decided that since the flock has recovered from near-extinction levels to today, where seeing a sandhill is a commonplace occurrence, it’s time to offer hunters a chance to harvest a few of the birds.

Not surprisingly, there are a few people upset by the proposal.  According to media reports, the primary flack has come from bird watchers.  The spokesman for the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes, Ben Yendall, was quoted as saying “…the fundamental basis of our objection…(is that) the birds haven’t been hunted in Kentucky in nearly 100 years. There’s no emergency to go out and start hunting these birds.”

We would note that, at the speed which regulatory processes move, it’s a good thing that this isn’t an emergency.  It is our opinion that Mr. Yendall and his group wouldn’t be happy if crane hunting wasn’t started for another 50 years.

By the way, though the huge migratory birds might seem a gangly, easy target for gunners, those who have hunted the cranes note that they are extremely wary and challenging to hunt.

Read more: Proposal for Kentucky sandhill crane hunting season ruffles some feathers | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.


Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Major new nature park at Indianapolis airport

wildflowerPerhaps you can now get in a few minutes of hiking before your flight.

That would be possible, if unwise, because of a new nature park that is now open near Indianapolis International Airport.

The 210-acre Sodalis Nature Park is a wooded 2200-acre property in Hendricks and Marion counties.

The park offers 3.5 miles of hiking trails, a paved handicapped-accessible trail, wildlife viewing platform, picnic area and 5-acre fishing lake.Website and


Story link: Nature park opens on airport-owned land | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.

Endangered Least Tern numbers up in Indiana

From the Associated Press via WTHR.com

East Mount Carmel – State wildlife official say Indiana’s populations of an endangered water-loving bird are on the rise in the state’s southwestern corner.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says Indiana’s least tern populations have grown significantly since a single pair of the petite shorebirds were found in Gibson County in 1986.

The DNR says about 150 least tern adults were found last year in that region and those birds reared a record-high 165 young.

DNR nongame bird biologist John Castrale says the federally endangered bird’s resurgence is a result of “hard work” by government agencies and business partners who have provided suitable habitat for the bird and worked to protect them predators and disturbances.

One of the bird’s nesting sites is near a cooling lake for a Duke Energy power plant.

Story Link: Indiana’s populations of endangered bird on the rise – 13 WTHR.


photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Find an injured or orphaned animal? Read this

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

By “rescuing” an injured or apparently abandoned baby wild animal, you may doing the opposite of what you seek to accomplish, and break the law.

This time of year, thousands of animals are born in the wild. With the spread of suburban areas into their natural habitats, young animals are increasingly born near humans, who are more apt to discover them without an adult animal nearby. When this happens, a few reminders are especially pertinent.

While some baby animals may be orphaned or abandoned, that’s not always true.

Picking up a baby animal that is not orphaned or abandoned is not only usually unnecessary, it can be bad for the animal. It’s also illegal if you don’t have the proper permit or take the animal straight to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Such animals also pose safety and health risks for humans. They may look helpless, cute and cuddly, but they can bite or scratch people who attempt to handle them. Some wild animals carry parasites and infectious diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans.

“The apparent lack of an adult does not mean a young animal is orphaned,” said Linnea Petercheff, operations staff specialist for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “Adults often leave their young alone, safe in nests or dens while they forage for food, but rarely do they abandon their young.”

If a bird has fallen out of a nest, it is OK to gently return it to the nest. The best way to make sure an animal is truly orphaned is to wait and check it periodically. If you are unsure, place some strings or sticks across the nest. Place some grass across the top of a rabbit nest that is found with young in it.

If such items are later disturbed, the mother has probably returned. In such a situation, leave the young animal alone. The adult will return after you leave the area.  As an example, rabbits often come to the nest to feed their young only a couple of times a day.

The best way to make sure that a fawn that appears to be alone is truly orphaned is to wait and check it periodically.  Before taking any action, remember the following:

  • If the fawn is not injured, the mother is likely nearby.
  • Leave the fawn alone and its mother will probably come and get it. Deer can take better care of their young than a human can.
  • Human scent on the fawn will not prevent the mother from taking care of it.
  • If you do not see any deer nearby, have someone watch the fawn without being seen by the mother. In most cases, the mother will come back and get the fawn after you leave the area.

If you believe the mother has not returned to a nest or a deer has not come back to feed her fawn, or you know that the mother is no longer alive, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator listed at: www.wildlife.in.gov.

Remember, state laws prohibit keeping protected wild animals without a permit. Most species of wildlife are protected by law and cannot be kept as a pet. Federal laws also prohibit possession of migratory birds, including songbirds, raptors and waterfowl. It is even illegal to treat wild animals for sickness or injury without a permit.

Wild animal rehabilitation permits are issued to qualified individuals who take in sick, injured, or orphaned wild animals with the intent of releasing them back into the wild.

If you encounter an injured, truly abandoned or sick wild animal, do one of the following for assistance:

  • Check the DNR website, www.wildlife.in.gov and click on “Wildlife Rehabilitation”
  • Call the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife in Indianapolis, (317) 232-4080.
  • Call your DNR law enforcement district headquarters or regional headquarters; contact information is at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/2755.htm
  • Call a licensed veterinarian for immediate assistance with a sick or severely injured wild animal.

Link to press release


Duck makes nest in Mishawaka parking lot

It’s not unusual to see mom and the kids at the mall, but it is noteworthy when the mother in question is wearing nothing but feathers.

In Mishawaka, a female duck has made a nest in front of the Barnes & Noble store at University Park Mall.   The duck has become a local celebrity and even been featured on South Bend television.

Read more:

Duck makes home in Mishawaka mall parking lot – Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports.



photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service