2013: Year of the Snake

YearoftheSnakeLogo_final_transpSo, the Chinese zodiac sign for the year that roughly corresponds to 2013 (starts on February 10), is indeed the snake. And aptly, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, the conservation partnership, has designated 2013 to be a year of focusing on snake conservation issues.

The state partners with PARC for the year of the snake are Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division (CT DEEP), Maryland Department of Natural Resources and The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).

Much like the previously mentioned Year of the Turtle, the PARC program provides resources to promote snake conservation during the year, including a newsletter, a calendar of related events and a poster.

You can find that resource page here.

Happy Bird Day to You

No, today is not your Bird Day. International Migratory Bird Day is typically on the second Saturday in May, with adjustments encouraged to make sure birds are migrating through your area on the day you celebrate. (It’s the second Saturday in October, south of the equator.)

This year, the second Saturday is May 12, but the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, for example, will be celebrating on May 5.

The day is organized by Environment for the Americas, and it was founded by Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The Bird Day website as event ideas, sample press releases and more.

It’s as good an excuse as any to shine the spotlight on your department’s migratory bird research.

Iowa eagle cam goes viral

Not Iowans, but Alaskan eaglets

The live video feed from the bald eagle nest at the Decorah Fish Hatchery in Iowa has received 11 million hits, and at times has 100,000 viewers. It’s not the eagles, but the number of hits that is the subject of news stories from National Public Radio, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse (via Yahoo! News). (I had to link to a cached copy of the AP story because it disappeared off the internet.)

The video cam is sponsored by the Raptor Resource Project, a non-profit organization that creates, improves and maintains raptor nests in the Midwest, with the intent of boosting raptor populations. In the AP story, Raptor Resource Project executive director Bob Anderson says that a technology upgrade, funded by the Upper Iowa Audubon Society, may have boosted the site’s hits. This year the site has a better hosting platform and better video quality.

See the feed for yourself, at the Raptor Resource Project Web site (which was a little slow at the time this was posted) or excerpts on its YouTube channel.

It may be time to take advantage of the buzz by promoting your department’s own nest cams. Keep in mind, though, that the video quality on the Decorah eagle cam is the best that I’ve seen in a nest cam, so this news may mean that everyone else will need to upgrade to keep the public’s interest.

Photo: These bald eaglets in Alaska are a little older than the Iowa eagle nestlings were at the time of posting.
Photo credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service