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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.

Gray Four-eyed Opossum

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Gray Four-eyed Opossum

Gray Four-eyed Opossum

This is a young Gray Four-eyed Opossum (Philander opossum) caught in one of our mammal traps, as we were surveying for an unusual jungle rodent called Watson’s Climbing Rat (Tylomys watsoni) in Rara Avis Nature Reserve, Costa Rica. Believe it or not, the rat would have been bigger than this opossum (and particularly fond of chocolate and soap). Like it’s cousin, the Virginia Opossum, these guys show a remarkable resistance to venoms and poisons, including snake venom, and are relatively immune to dangerous snake bites. In North America,...

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Spring Peepers

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Spring Peepers

Spring Peepers

Spring Peepers are a type of small tree frog. Truthful to their name, they emerge from hibernation in early spring. Soon after, the males – often hundreds at a time – will take over wetlands and call on warm and rainy nights to stake out a territory and attract a mate. Their surprisingly loud “peep” calls are usually produced from a safe location hidden in dense vegetation, and it can be difficult to spot them. An inflatable vocal sac on their throat serves as an amplifier, which allows them to call very loudly. The sound produced by a chorus...

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AAfCW 2017 Scheduling, Dates & General News

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on AAfCW 2017 Scheduling, Dates & General News

AAfCW 2017 Scheduling, Dates & General News

Good afternoon all! This is a general update for all of our devoted volunteer shorebird monitors and caring conservationists everywhere. Our first Piping Plovers arrived back in Connecticut at Milford Point on Monday. However, the blizzard and now potentially more snow this weekend will keep others to the south, and any birds that have already arrived will be strictly foraging. It should be some time before we see any nesting activity, and we can continue to prepare until we officially begin monitoring in April. Please submit your monitoring...

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RTP in Another Place in Another Time

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on RTP in Another Place in Another Time

RTP in Another Place in Another Time

Although his work required extensive travel, it seemed that Roger Tory Peterson needed the world as much as it needed him. His wife, Barbara, wrote to her mother that no matter where Roger was, he always wanted to be somewhere else. He made seven safari trips to Africa during his lifetime, shooting footage for his documentary “Wild Africa”, which contains more rare and exotic birds than any film of its time. His conservation message is powerful, and it pervades the film: “A bird like the whooping crane is more divine than the most inspired...

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Artist’s Workshop with Robin Brickman on March 18th

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Artist’s Workshop with Robin Brickman on March 18th

Artist’s Workshop with Robin Brickman on March 18th

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) is pleased to present a workshop with illustrator Robin Brickman on Saturday, March 18, from 10:00am – 12:00pm.  This talented artist will deliver a visual presentation sharing her process for illustrating the book Leaflets Three, Let it Be!, which features her work entitled Baby Opossum and Insects in the Fall, currently on view in Focus on Nature XIV at RTPI. Following Brickman’s presentation, participants will enjoy creating a small, three-dimensional paper sculpture of their own using Robin’s...

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Downy Woodpecker

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is an industrious little bird that frequents parks and woodlots throughout much of North America. While often spotted at backyard feeders with similarly sized chickadees and nuthatches, this black-and-white woodpecker is also at home on tiny branches where it can be seen acrobatically foraging for insect larvae. Roger Tory Peterson described this bird’s call as “a rapid whinny of notes, descending in pitch.” Keep an eye and an ear out for this charismatic little bird; its striking...

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Scaup Surge

Posted by on Mar 12, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Scaup Surge

Scaup Surge

Thanks to recent warm temperatures and favorable winds, Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) like those shown here are now on the move back to the north, and during the past couple of weeks their numbers have been growing across the region. While you can find some throughout the winter in open areas on large bodies of water such as Lake Erie, most members of this species migrate south to evade the cold. We have been able to enjoy several thousand – probably 5,000 or 6,000 and maybe more – in the waters of Long Island Sound off Stratford...

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Winter’s Not Over Yet

Posted by on Mar 11, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Winter’s Not Over Yet

Winter’s Not Over Yet

The fresh blanket of snow across the Western New York landscape is a good reminder that winter isn’t over just yet. However, some of our resident amphibians have been receiving crossed signals due to recent increases in daylight hours and above average temperatures; we have actually gotten reports of salamanders and frogs moving to nearby ponds and vernal pools to lay their eggs. With this weekend’s dropping temperatures, local pools have started to ice over indicating freezing temperatures near the surface. The eggs of some amphibian...

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Opening Eyes, Minds, and Hearts to Earth’s Biodiversity

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Opening Eyes, Minds, and Hearts to Earth’s Biodiversity

Opening Eyes, Minds, and Hearts to Earth’s Biodiversity

Roger Tory Peterson traveled the world to explore, discover, and document its flora and fauna. He applied his artistic talents to describe and illustrate plants and animals in far-away regions to make their existence known to a broad audience, while his biological observations and knowledge supported conservation efforts and helped elicit positive environmental change. Like Peterson, RTPI Director Twan Leenders likewise uses his artistic skills to increase awareness and appreciation for the organisms that he studies, both locally and abroad....

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Amphibian Aficionados

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Amphibian Aficionados

Amphibian Aficionados

> Dave Huth – Associate professor of visual communication and media arts at Houghton College, friend of RTPI, and gleeful amphibian enthusiast – recently interviewed some of our staff for an article he wrote on how today’s youth interact with nature. The piece, entitled “Raising the Next Generation of Amphibian Aficionados”, appeared in the February edition of the publication FrogLog. Huth’s passion for amphibians – as well as for the living world at large – is reflected in his writing, as well as in his...

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