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Blog

Our blog features constant updates on a variety of subjects relating to education, conservation, exhibits, special events, and much more. You can expect to read about art, birds and birding, weather, dragonflies and damselflies, reptiles and amphibians, literature and media, fascinating stories, plants and trees, butterflies and moths, climate change, agriculture, and of course, Roger Tory Peterson.

Why Are Eastern Hemlock Trees Irreplaceable?

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Are Eastern Hemlock Trees Irreplaceable?

Perspective from RTPI’s conservation intern, Heather Zimba I think many people would agree that spending time walking in a forest can be therapeutic, being completely enveloped by the landscape’s vegetation and wildlife. I’ll bet that – if you like the outdoors – you can close your eyes right now and visualize the areas you most like to visit. One of my favorite places is a small gorge that contains a stream with beautiful natural waterfalls. The steep banks of the gorge are lined with deep green evergreen trees that...

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Zombie Fungus?

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Zombie Fungus?

Zombie Fungus?

During a recent Hemlock Woolly Adelgid survey, one of our volunteers found a little yellow blob attached to a hemlock twig. The mass was clearly not HWA, but curiosity prompted me to bring it back to the office for examination. A closer look under the microscope revealed that the blob actually consisted of a powdery fungus encapsulating a dead spider! After a bit of research, I came to suspect that it might be some sort of Cordyceps; a genus of parasitic fungi capable of taking control of an arthropod, thus directing it to navigate to a...

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Male House Finch

Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Male House Finch

Male House Finch

Here is a recent photo of a male House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) on a snowy afternoon. The beautiful red shades of this guy really stand out against the drab surroundings, and their cheery songs can already be heard here in February on some of the warmer, sunnier days. It is one of the first signs of “spring” as the days began to grow longer. The Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) is a similar species and often confused with the House Finch, especially because both enjoy coming to backyard bird feeders. Roger Tory Peterson...

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Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

There’s always that one subject that is particularly challenging to photograph, and for me it’s the Slimy Salamander. They live in dense forests where the light is quite low and they quickly retreat from bright light, so without a high shutter speed your chances of capturing these secretive salamanders is next to none. What’s more, their jet black body and eyes makes it difficult to get the focus just right. And if you try to move them into a better position, your fingers get coated in their gooey secretions and then you...

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Treasures of the Tropics

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Treasures of the Tropics

Treasures of the Tropics

In less than two weeks an RTPI crew will be headed to Costa Rica again, this time with students from the Forman School. Students will participate in a variety of research projects, including migratory bird banding and monitoring endangered and recovering amphibian populations, such as this Rufous-eyed Brook Tree Frog (Duellmanohyla rufioculis). Stay tuned for more information...

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Amazing Line-Up For National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Amazing Line-Up For National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Amazing Line-Up For National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Trying to combat cabin fever this winter? Looking for some interesting and educational events to attend? Between February 27th and March 4th, RTPI is partnering with the Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM) to host a series of events at our Jamestown headquarters in recognition of National Invasive Species Awareness Week. The schedule for the week is as follows: Monday February 27th at 6pm-“Bird and Invasives” Guest Lecture by Andrea Locke, WNY PRISM Coordinator Wednesday March 1st at...

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Artist Dale Weiler Creates Snowy Owl Sculpture to Benefit RTPI

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Artist Dale Weiler Creates Snowy Owl Sculpture to Benefit RTPI

Artist Dale Weiler Creates Snowy Owl Sculpture to Benefit RTPI

We are very excited to announce the release of a new bronze sculpture created by Dale Weiler to support wildlife conservation programs underway at RTPI. The bronze, “Elevated Perspective”, is a 9-inch rendering of a snowy owl, one of Peterson’s favorite species to paint and the icon for RTPI. It is also the first bronze Dale has created in the last ten years. Dale and his wife, Loti, are donating 100% of the profits to RTPI’s ‘Project Wild America’ initiative – a program which promotes experiencing nature in your own backyard. The...

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Winter Blues

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Winter Blues

Winter Blues

Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) can look so vibrantly blue on sunny days, but blue coloration in animals is very rarely created by blue pigment. Instead, their stunning hues are created by refractive colors of light, breaking on microscopic structure of the feathers. Minute barbs on their feathers are specially modified to scatter light in a way that makes them appear blue, rather than showing the brown melanin that their feathers are colored with. Yes, Blue Jays are not actually...

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Brown Thrasher Visit

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Brown Thrasher Visit

Brown Thrasher Visit

This Brown Thrasher came to my feeders today! Talk about a welcome visitor…it ended up spending the day eating with various feathered friends, using that long bill to dig seed out of the snow. It was a delightful surprise for one of the more quiet times of the year. Scott Kruitbosch Conservation & Outreach...

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Dark-eyed Junco

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is one of our most familiar backyard feeder birds. They are a species we can find year-round as they nest in some of our woodlands in western New York. They used to be known as the “snowbird” likely because of their abundance in pouring down from the north into all of the continental United States during the winter. Their plumage, grays and browns above with white below, also seem to fit so perfectly on a snowy landscape. This bird was photographed during a recent snowstorm looking regal as can...

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