Use non-toxic fishing gear. Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death –

Use non-toxic fishing gear. Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death –

Paradox Stuffed Animal House in the Snow

Winter has continued for another week, giving snowmobilers and skiers some snow to play on… but be careful of icy conditions with all the freezes and thaws we’ve seen this winter. Punxsutawney Phil and Ellie George’s Paradox Pete can’t see their shadows, so we can look for spring at almost any time. Since we’ve had six spring breaks so far this winter, that wouldn’t be anything new.

While traveling to Syracuse this week, there was no snow to be seen below Remsen. Just open fields and open water almost everywhere. Tupper Lake had to cancel its ice fishing derby due to unsafe ice conditions. I’ve seen ice anglers on lakes in the Fulton Chain and Lake Limekiln, but I still check the ice before heading out.

(This) is especially (important) around inlets and bubbles around boathouses, as both weaken the ice road away from open water. Another warming trend comes at the end of the week with rain expected on Friday (February 9) and temperatures in the 40s.

California is seeing a bit of severe weather (to say the least) with hurricane-force winds accompanying these storms for the first time ever. Two days of rainfall totaled more than ten inches in many places and the entire coastline was affected by what they called an “atmospheric river” coming from the ocean.

It caused major flooding in homes and businesses, mudslides closed highways, and strong winds uprooted trees and power lines. This will continue until the end of the week, with more rain expected each day. (They got) more rain on just the first day than they normally get throughout the entire month of February.

X-ray image of a stranger holding a lead hunting tool in his stomach

Color x-ray with lead jig. Photo courtesy of the NYS DEC Wildlife Health Unit.

Birds keep coming from somewhere to my feeders every day. I’ve been counting ten (maybe twelve) Blue Jays at my feeders for a few weeks now. I’ve been linking them since January 22nd, (and getting) about a dozen new ones a day until today… most of them falling into my Potter traps. I missed a few days of hospital and doctor trips, but I did see over sixty new birds. They keep coming. When I look at them in the morning, I see new birds without bands, and where the banded birds go, I don’t know whether they go south or north.

Other new birds appear that haven’t been here for weeks such as Pine Siskins, Purple Finch and even the Slate-colored Junco. I think I count about twenty Black-capped Chickadees a day, and I wear about thirty streamers while only setting up my mist nets for half a day. (I’m) also catching several re-traps that I tied last fall or spring. Therefore, during these mild days and nights, birds move in one direction or another.

I received a press release from Nina Schoch, Executive Director of the Adirondack Loon Conservation Center, about lead poisoning as the primary cause of death for the Loons who were found dead in the Adirondack Lakes last summer. That’s from a summary of the findings of necropsy reports released by the NYS DEC Wildlife Health Unit of dead loons found last summer. Unfortunately, the main cause of death was lead poisoning due to birds ingesting a piece of lead fishing gear when they ate a fish that still had a piece of gear attached after it broke the line.

They also pick up small stones from the bottom and use them to grind the fish they eat. While doing so, they may pick up a lead sinker or bullet from the bottom of the lake. Divers who have been seen sick on the water due to lead poisoning have difficulty holding their heads up and will seek refuge on shore for protection from drowning, but they die from lead poisoning.

If people want to help prevent lead poisoning in Loons and other wildlife, (it is recommended) to use fishing tackle and non-toxic ammunition. There are many alternatives now available that do not poison wildlife that accidentally ingests them.

Lead Tackle Buyback Program, (allows) people (to bring) one ounce or more of lead tackle and receive a $10 voucher that they can use to purchase non-lead tackle at any participating equipment dealers (see www.adkloon.org) / Lead Program -tackle-buy-back-program for locations across the park.) New outfitters (are also encouraged) to join this program. Locally, Old Forge Hardware participates in this program.

The Great Backyard Bird Count will be released next weekend, February 16-19, but that’s another story. I’ll see you later.

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