Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Inundated by wildlife!

Collecting waterfowl food items for a project at
Rossman-Fly Pond 9/30/2013. Photo credit: Tyler Barriere
And, no I’m not literally inundated by wildlife, unfortunately. This semester has been my hardest yet. Upper level courses, lots of work, extracurriculurs, traveling, and my internship have all kept me very busy the past 9 weeks.

I’m currently enrolled in: Mammalogy, Wildlife Damages Management, Ecology and Management of Waterfowl, Chemistry, and Statistics. Chem and Stats are both 100 level courses, but foreign to me, so they might as well be upper-level work. The courses are great, faculty is great, it’s just the nature of the beast. Being an undergraduate requires time-consuming writing, reading, journaling, lab-writing, test-studying, and flashcard-making.

Getting ready for the Quiz Bowl competition
with the team from SUNY Cobleskill!
In addition to that, I try and make time to attend our college’s student chapter of The Wildlife Society. I have been really involved throughout my college career with TWS, and it’s been really rewarding. Sometimes, some of the best learning happens outside of the classroom. I’ve also participated in all kinds of events that have helped reinforces things I did learn in the classroom.

The most recent TWS event I was involved with, was that I was accepted to travel to, and present at the national conference held last week in Milwaukee, WI. My previous blog entry describes a bit of that trip. To make it brief though, I got to spend a week with professionals and students of all levels, talking about wildlife. Wildlife nerd HEAVEN! I even participated in the nerdiest thing of all: Wildlife Quiz Bowl. Colleges submit 1 team each to this “Bowl”, and answer trivia questions about wildlife, policy, history, etc…and compete. SUNY Cobleskill did NOT win, but we did make much farther than the previous year’s team!

THE "Wildlifers" mecca.
I sat in on many presentations about wildlife-related research happening around the world. Everything from river otters in the Finger Lakes, to gray wolf resoration in the Midwest, to the lack of wildlife collegiate-level education that’s available in Japan. It was awesome.
I also got to meet up with two fellow bloggers: “Trailblazer” and “xdhaas“, which was pretty neat as well.

The week ended with a phenomenal field trip, that perhaps only a true wildlife nerd or conservationist would appreciate. I will go address that in a subsequent blog entry though.

What else have I been up to?…

In my Mammalogy class, 3 of my classmates and I are going to attempt to live-trap a fisher, and with the assistance of our professor and with a professional DEC biologist, we’ll depoly a GPS collar on the critter.

A fisher visiting a bait set in Schoharie County.

Taxidermy mount of a fisher
modeling a GPS Lotek brand collar.
We’d like to put on a collar on the guy/gal at left, and track it’s movements. We’ve only gotten 1 picture, above, in the past month of prebaiting the traps. This means the traps are in the woods, locked open, which allow the animal to check them out. Then, when it’s time (hopefully next week), we’ll trigger the traps to close once an animal enters. This is all dependent on the wild animal of course.

While we were talking about our plans and logistics last week, we decided to try our collar on a receptive critter. Our taxidermied mount of a fisher. She didn’t seem to mind!

And, just so I’m clear- this isn’t “just for fun”. This takes the cooperation and involvement of our group members, our professor, the college holding a collection permit allowing us to live-trap, and DEC staff to assist us in the chemical immobilization, handling, and collaring of the actual animal. If we ever get to that point! Unfortunately, the fishers have been scarce all fall. And our project is due in less than a month.

I’ve been so busy this semester, that I haven’t written nearly as often as I like. I have so many things to write about, I will keep trying to get entries written when I find the time!


  1. Always nice to read an update from you. Good luck with the fisher trapping.

  2. I feel you on the work of a college semester, work, research, and blogging. Keep up the good work!

  3. Good luck with getting that fisher!!

  4. very cool. Good luck with that fisher. I've seen about a dozen over the years here in CT. They don't stick around long.


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