Three Masked Visitors

raccoons 3d
Usually we have people coming to our Visitors Center to see the wildlife exhibits or wildife behind the center. Yesterday we had wildlife visiting to see the humans on display. Where these three little raccoons came from and where they were going remains a mystery. We just don’t know who will show up at the preserve.

Young and Restless

Fawn052013cropSpring is here in all its glory. The old and drab is giving way to the new and lush. Young birds and animals are testing wings or legs and venturing farther afield from nests and burrows. As they leave the shelter of their hiding places, young animals have many encounters with other species. They learn about finding food and how to avoid becoming food themselves. Sometimes they narrowly escape disaster and sometimes…
We must remember that if we encounter a young animal or bird in our travels, the best approach is to allow it to go its own way. Countless generations of animals have survived quite well without human intervention and will continue to do so. Young animals and their parents know much better than we do how to care for themselves and their offspring. Not that a helping hand once in a while can’t be beneficial. A quick airlift of a box turtle from a busy highway assures it will live to produce many more generations. The honk of a horn to frighten an undecided deer or rabbit from the berm of the road keeps your car and the animal intact.
Yet, when it comes to young animals, we seem to lose all our senses and cave in to a deep-seated maternal instinct. Our need to be good Samaritans, while certainly good intentioned, has very detrimental effects on young animals taken from the wild. Many “rescued” animals survive, but only with proper and almost constant human care. However, the quality of life is drastically reduced for these animals. Chances are they will never lead a “normal” life and may perish suddenly and unexpectedly in captivity. The probability of surviving in the wild on their own is actually very good for young creatures. Parents are usually nearby even though unnoticed, ready to answer distress calls of the young quickly and effectively. Natural food is also close at hand, allowing young animals to feed at will. So, if you find a cute, young animal, resist the temptation to pick it up, take it home and care for it. Confinement to a cardboard box pales in comparison with life in the natural environment. Allow nature’s babies to be young and restless on their own.

Lots to see at PPL

On my way into work early this morning I was greeted by a couple of beautiful young deer near the entrance of the PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center. They must have been strolling through the preserve for their early morning forage as they stopped near the driveway at the edge of the woods to graze. The doe was much more interested in what I was doing as she watched my every move intently; the young buck could care less as he went about his foraging. They worked their way through the gravel overflow parking lot and into the grassy area where I captured a better shot of the four point buck.

 

Young 4-pt. buck at the Wallenpaupack preserve on a foggy morning.

At our environmental preserves, PPL works to protect the land, care for endangered species and habitats, and provide public recreational facilities for people to learn about and enjoy nature’s beauty. That’s evident here at the PPL Wallenpaupack preserve with lots of wildlife to see throughout the year including these deer as well as osprey, bald eagles, songbirds, monarchs, salamanders and much, much more. Be sure to stop by our learning center and see them for yourself! While you’re at it, we’d love to hear and see your own observations!  From experience, it’s a great way to start the day!

-Sarah Hall, PPL Wallenpaupack

Predators of the Poconos

Kathy Uhler, director of the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Stroudsburg, provided an educational and close-up experience with several predators native to the area on Saturday at PPL’s Martins Creek Preserve.

An experienced wildlife handler, she educated participants about raptors, mammals and reptiles that were previously injured or orphaned and cannot be released back into the wild.  

Some of the crowd’s favorites included a barn owl, peregrine falcon, flying squirrel, wood turtle, black rat snake, baby opossum and striped skunk.  “Did you know that the peregrine falcon can reach speeds of 200 mph during their characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), making them the fastest member of the animal kingdom,” she said as the crowd gasped in amazement.  Cameras in hand, participants of all ages clamored for the perfect photo of the beautiful raptor and the rest of the furry and feathered  “friends”  which Kathy brought from PWRC.

 

PPL is pleased to support the efforts of the PWRC and to offer educational programs about native wildlife.  For other programs about local wildlife in your area, visit the PPL Preserves Calendar of Events.  Hope to see you soon,   Alana 

~Alana Roberts, PPL Community Affairs Specialist

Stopped in Our Tracks

On Saturday, John Jose of Otter Creek Environmental Education Services treated a group of 24 kids and adults to an educational program about Animal Tracking at PPL’s Martins Creek Preserve. This lively group was eager to learn about “stride” and “straddle” using indoor sand tracking trays and handmade animal track molds.

With temperatures in the upper 40’s, the group hit the trails at the Lower Mount Bethel Township Welcome Center to see if they could discover any animal tracks in the mud. To our surprise we made a unique discovery on a February day- a garter snake slithering around in the brush! The reptile must be as confused as we are about these warm winter days and lack of snow. 

We finished the program by searching for tracks on the sandy banks of the Delaware River. Our search revealed many different animals had been there recently including a skunk and a muskrat. Can you name the two other animals that left evidence of their visit to the river by leaving their tracks in the sand?

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