Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, April 19, 2019: If you wait out this weekend’s windage – gusting from SE to over 30 mph – we’ll be into ...

Or not ... 


With the passing of Mildred Wentworth, 94, his beloved owner, Mr. Snippets was at first hugely relieved to be rescued by the seemingly kindly Wilson family … until this fateful day, as Mr. Snippets is taken for a ride on something called a boat where he is suddenly exposed to a horrifying activity carried on by his new owners. In this timely photo, Mr. Snippets first experiences what the Wilsons are capable of. At the same time, he is desperately trying to determine if he might possess the ingrained swimming skills common to his breed and if some primordial canine homing ability will lead him back to the animal shelter.


I'm sponsored by Rowenta ... 

(Ignore typos .. in a rusb ... make that rush.)

Friday, April 19, 2019: If you wait out this weekend’s windage – gusting from SE to over 30 mph – we’ll be into a stretch of exceptional fishing wind and weather, beginning as early as Sunday, though more so all next week. In fact, I’ll go with a sort of surfcasting and boat fishing alert for next week as arriving fish, weather, warming waters and forage fish could come to together big time.

It’s broken recordish but the bay is bassified to a rather impressive degree. On something of a whim – semi-inspired by this blog – a fellow and son went to a bayside street end on the block of their summer home, a place they had never fished before. Bam! “Baby” bass, as he put it.

That “baby bass” angle is becoming quite a thing; I would think a “good thing.” They’re tomorrow’s unbaby bass. Release success rate for small bass is damn close to 100 percent. I kid you not. They’re tough, easily unhooked and full of piss and vinegar.

Relatedly, I got an email from a reader. Without mention a locale (though it’s nearby), he’s already into “dozens” of bass. “In all my years of fishing I have never seen so many this small.” Again, that is being repeated time and time again, especially by anglers fishing bayside sod banks. The cool part is nary a single complaint about the steady smallness … yet. Many of those loving the little-sized action are coming off that ugly skunking last fall.

By the by, not all the many bass being hooked are way-small. I know of two keepers and, as another email noted, “We got into a school of some slightly bigger bass,” mainly in the 24- to 28-inch class. “It was like fluke fishing where the bigger fish (bass) were just a half inch below keeper size.”

In fairness, some fishing folks have been unable to find the bayside bass action. Also, the bites come on like gangbusters … then shut down just as quickly. Hey, take a breather between passing feeding units, i.e. schools.

David Iacono
Good afternoon trip on the #justintime. 15 fish in about 2 1/2 hrs all on shads.
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I’ve had a bit of nighttime bassing come my limited-time way. Surprise … all tiny fish. Since having a couple plastic bitten off last week, bluefish-style, haven’t had one severed in half since. In fact, there’s a small buzz about blues running a tad late, though not really when averaging arrival times over decades past. We had been in some early runs in recent years.

I’ll hungrily mention my infatuation with spring tailor blues for making jerky or simply spice drying. They fill on spawning grass shrimp and blue claws that often swim the surface this time of year. Best dang bluefish flavor ever.

“Jay, No luck with black drum (spot excluded on request). Did see bunker schools on the surface like they were nervous.”

Shifting gears, pickerel season is jumpin’. Above average. This is one of the finest times to go chainsiding; the fish are ravenous, and the weeds have yet to muck up shallows. Go with single hooks, even on plugs. Always wet hands when dehooking – not using even wet rags. Also, use long dehooking pliers, not short handled. Gill-hooking is a norm with pickerel. Take time dehooking. Teach your kids to remove a deep hook by going in under the gill flaps, not by trying to jam a stick down through the mouth. Yanking out a gill-hooked lure is instant death to the fish.

Below: Perfect pickerel pliers ... 


Jim Hutchinson Jr.
The Coccia family was fishing bloodworm on the Jersey side of the Delaware River yesterday when Philip Coccia hooked up with this monster striped bass using a 7/0 circle, with 50-pound braid and 40-pound fluoro. Yes, this beautiful fish was released to do her spring thing! Thanks to Jay and crew from the Delaware River Striped Bass Fishing group for sharing this tremendous catch & release, also Phillip and his sons!
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The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are preparing for a sudden influx of good
fishing. Water temperatures in the Beach Haven area are slowly rising into the mid 50’s, and that means
the fish will be getting more active. At this point good numbers of striped bass are being caught in the
bay waters even though most are still under keeper size. While bluefish have still not made an
appearance, black drum are beginning to show up in decent numbers already.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” fished very recently near the mouth of the Mullica River for some
steady action. He managed to boat 20 bass ranging in size from 22-25 inches. He said clam was the ticket
to the action.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Charters has been out on the water and says the “back bay bass
bite has been pretty good when you can make it out as there are lots of15-20-inch bass hitting soft
plastics at some of the structure locations. He has heard good things about blackfish action in the ocean
on clams, green crabs and white crabs. He has plans to spend a little time looking for some early
In other BGCFA news Captain Carl Sheppard reports the “Star Fish” has just completed her annual Coast
Guard inspection and is certified again this year for up to 19 passengers. He is looking forward to black
bass season opening in May.
Captain Lindsay Fuller reports the “June Bug” is in the boatyard in North Carolina getting her traditional
winter maintenance completed. The boat is getting a completely new enclosure since the existing one
was literally ripped away when a huge vertical wave came up on its nose in the dark on the way south
for the winter. Once all work is completed, the “June Bug” will return to Beach Haven for the fishing
Additional information on the BHCFA can be found at www.BHCFA.net.


Officials offer ‘turkey tips’ after reports of birds’ aggressive behavior


A pregnant Cambridge woman recently said she was attacked by a group of aggressive turkeys while out for a walk.

Turkey breeding season is in full-swing, which means the large birds can often become aggressive if they come into contact with humans.

To avoid any potential problems, state wildlife officials are reminding people of what to do if they find themselves face-to-face with any bad-tempered birds.

Following “inquiries and reports about turkeys acting aggressively towards people and pets,” officials from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife on Thursday sent out an email to residents offering information about how to prevent conflicts with turkeys.

March through May is breeding season for wild turkeys and as a result, there is an increase in turkey activity all across the Commonwealth,” officials said in the e-mail. “Some turkeys may be seen acting aggressively by pecking, following, or exhibiting other intimidating behavior towards people.”

“Wild turkeys live in flocks organized by pecking order. Each bird is dominant over or ‘pecks on’ birds of lesser social status,” officials wrote. “Turkeys may attempt to dominate or attack people that they view as subordinates, and this behavior is observed most often during breeding season.”

The notice to residents comes a few weeks after a pregnant Cambridge woman said she was attacked by a group of aggressive turkeys while out for a walk.

Kenda Carlson told the Globe last week that she started carrying around a large umbrella to fend off potential brushes with the birds after she was surrounded by turkeys that pecked at her legs, leaving visible welts.



It’s official..... and I’m never gonna hear the end of it! 

Dylan’s officially the IGFA World Record holder in the Red Drum Junior Division! On the web site and got the certificate in today’s mail.

Quite the process but well worth it and a heck of a story for him for a long long time. Braydens already plotting to take him down. 

No photo description available.
No photo description available.


(19/P27) TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is reminding the public of important safety tips to follow as black bears begin emerging from winter dens and searching for food.

"It is especially important for residents who live in bear country to be aware of the common-sense steps they can take to reduce the chances of a bear coming onto their properties," Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. "These reminders also are important for those who spend time outdoors or have a chance encounter with a bear."

Black bears have been sighted in all of New Jersey's 21 counties, but the population is densest in the northwestern counties of Sussex, Warren, Passaic and Morris.
Black bears are not true hibernators. They are emerging from their dens after a period of winter dormancy known as torpor, during which they may lose up to 20 percent of their body weight. They need to restore this weight for the mating season, which begins in late May and continues well into summer.

One of their primary natural food sources in spring is skunk cabbage, a leafy plant that grows along edges of rivers and streams and other wetlands. Grasses, forbs, tubers, bulbs and insects are other natural food sources. Bears may also feed on carrion.

Bears have an acute sense of smell and can detect scents across great distances, making it critical to prevent bears from being attracted to other food sources around properties, such as trash, food residue on grills, bird seed and pet food.

"Bears are by nature wary of people, however, animals attracted to neighborhoods may learn to associate people with food," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Acting Director Dave Golden. "When bears make that connection they may become aggressive, cause property damage or seek handouts from people."

Intentional feeding of a bear is dangerous, illegal and carries a fine of up to $1,000.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers these tips to minimize encounters with bears:
* Secure trash and eliminate obvious sources of food, such as pet food, easy-to-reach bird feeders, or food residue in barbecue grills.
* Use certified bear-resistant garbage containers, if possible. Otherwise, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them along the inside walls of a garage, the basement, a sturdy shed or other secure area.
* Wash garbage containers frequently with a disinfectant solution to remove odors. Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.
* Avoid feeding birds when bears are active. If you choose to feed birds, do so during daylight hours only and bring feeders indoors at night. Suspend birdfeeders from a free-hanging wire, making sure they are at least 10 feet off the ground. Clean up spilled seeds and shells daily.
* Remove all uneaten food and food bowls used by pets fed outdoors.
* Clean outdoor grills and utensils to remove food and grease residue. Store grills securely.
* Do not place meat or any sweet foods in compost piles.
* Remove fruit or nuts that fall from trees in your yard.
* Install electric fencing to protect crops, beehives and livestock.

If you encounter a black bear in your neighborhood or outdoors while hiking, fishing or camping, follow these tips:
* Remain calm and never run from a bear. Avoid direct eye contact, which a bear may perceive as a challenge. Back away slowly if a bear utters a series of huffs, makes popping sounds by snapping its jaws or swats the ground. Make sure the bear can easily escape.
* If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. This is usually not a threatening behavior.
* If a bear does not leave the area or advances toward you, make loud noises to scare it away by yelling, using a whistle, banging pots and pans or sounding an air horn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your heads. Move to a secure area, such as a vehicle or building.
* If hiking through bear country, always make your presence known by talking loudly or clapping hands.
* Families who live in areas frequented by black bears should have a "Bear Plan" in place for children, with an escape route and planned use of whistles and air horns.
* Black bear attacks on humans are rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back.

DEP wildlife experts emphasize that a black bear passing through an area and not causing a specific problem, such as breaking into trash or otherwise trying to access food sources on people's properties or posing a safety threat, should be left alone.

People should leave the area and allow the bear to continue on its way. When frightened, bears may seek refuge by climbing trees. If the bear does go up a tree, clear the area and give the bear time to climb down and escape.

Report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to the Wildlife Control Unit of the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife at (908) 735-8793. During evenings and weekends, residents should call their local police department or the DEP Hotline at 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337).

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers public education programs about how to safely coexist with black bears and minimize negative interactions with them. Presentations to school children, civic organizations, communities and other groups are available free of charge by calling biologist Michelle Smith at (609) 259-6961 or emailing Michelle.Smith@dep.nj.gov.

To learn more about New Jersey's black bears, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/bearfacts.htm.

Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP.


NOAA scientist: Offshore wind projects will likely affect viability of fishery surveys

By Chris Chase
Upcoming offshore wind projects proposed for areas on the East Coast of the United States will have an impact on NOAA Fisheries surveys, presenting new challenges to scientists by potentially resulting in less-effective fisheries data.

At a special session of the New England Fisheries Management Council covering offshore wind, Wendy Gabriel, of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, outlined a wide number of concerns for the organization regarding the development of wind power along the coast. Chief among the concerns was the organization’s ability to continue conducting viable fishery surveys – which provide much of the data that the council uses to establish fishing quotas. 

“The bottom-line here is, nearly all of the long-term fishery independent surveys that have coverage will be affected,” she said during the session. 

There’s already a wide number of potential offshore wind projects planned for the east coast, with multiple leased areas totaling thousands of acres of land dotting the coast. Almost all of those planned areas overlap some of the survey “strata” which NOAA Fisheries uses to plan its surveys. 

Typically, according to Gabriel, the center will randomly select areas of each survey “stratum” to determine where trawls will be preformed to get data on certain fisheries – from Atlantic sea scallops to surf clams. However, currently, leased areas overlap in every single strata area; at the lowest end, 30 percent of each strata is occupied by an offshore wind lease. 

“Right now, we use a random stratified survey design, and that involves picking locations at random in a stratum, and now we’re not going to be able to do that, because there will be turbines in the neighborhood,” Gabriel said. 

That could pose a problem, depending on how spaced out the wind turbines are, and what sort of uses are allowed in the wind energy areas. 

Currently, the science center uses its ship, the Henry B. Bigelow, to perform all trawl surveys. Due to that ship’s size the spacing and size of the turbines could prevent its use in parts of wind energy areas. 

“It looks likely that Bigelow would not be operating in an area where the turbine spacing is a nautical mile,” Gabriel said. Due to the nature of the activity, using the Bigelow’s to trawl in areas with closely-spaced turbines could pose risks to both the ship and the turbines.

The height of the turbines will also have an impact. 

“The vessel has about 85 feet of air draft, so like a basketball player and a ceiling fan, it’s not going to be pretty,” she said. 

Air surveys, used to find large species – like the North Atlantic right whale – will also be impacted. Currently, those surveys are done at 600 feet from a plane. However, minimum distance over structures for airplanes is 1,000 feet, meaning smaller animals – like dolphins – will be nearly impossible to spot. 

The immediately apparent solution is shifting to equipment and survey methods that can still be functional, even if offshore wind projects occupy sections of the coast. However, changing the survey methods means changing what data will result. 

“If a new survey is required, calibration will be required to maintain a standardized time series,” Gabriel said. “We pay in terms of information loss until we get that series.”

That lack of a standardized series could mean there’s gaps in the data that NOAA and the various fisheries councils have relied on to set their quotas. But finding those gaps, and doing the work required to either adapt old data to new survey methods to continue the series, isn’t possible with the science center’s current staff and funding levels. 

“We don’t have any resources at this point to systematically identify these gaps,” said Gabriel. “Normally what we’d say is ‘We’ll build this plane as we fly it.’ The problem here is, we’ve got no pilots, we’ve got no welders, and we’ve got no steel.”

While for now the impact of offshore wind on the science center’s ability to perform the surveys is still limited, projections indicate that increasing demand for renewable energy will result in more and more wind turbines off the coast. 

“There’s goals to increase the use of wind energy to generate electricity in the United States over time,” said Michelle Bachmann, fishery analyst for habitat with NEFMC, during an informational portion of the special session. “On the near-term horizon, you’re looking at about 3,000 megawatts offshore. In a decade or so, 22,000 megawatts, bringing that up to 86,000 megawatts.”  

For perspective, there’s projected to be 319 wind turbines offshore by 2020. That number goes up to 2,340 by 2030, and over 9,000 by 2050. 

That means determining a solution to the survey issue is going to be necessary sooner or later. That raises yet another question: Who will pay for the work needed? 

Ron Smolowitz, of the Fisheries Survival Fund, said he’s been trying to get something out of the wind companies whose new turbines are necessitating the changes. 

“I’ve been hounding the wind companies for fishery development funds knowing that the fishing industry is going to have to change their practices,” he told the NEFMC.

According to Jon Hare, a member of the council, funding is still “very much in discussion phase.”

Regardless of how the council, and NOAA, approaches the issue, its clear that any solution is going to be complicated to reach, Peter Hughes, a liaison from the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Council, said.

“We’re going to have to go out and do some formulation and recalibration and look at different vessels and different gear modifications,” Hughes said. “I know that IBM has a supercomputer, called Watson. I don’t have the questions to feed into Watson, but we’re going to have some questions that need answers, and that may be where they have to come from.”

Chris Chase

The Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network (MACAN) is seeking perspectives on ocean acidification from members of commercial fishing, seafood, aquaculture, charter boat and recreational fishing organizations in the Mid-Atlantic. MACAN is a nexus of scientists, tribal, federal, and state agency representatives, resource managers, and affected industry partners who seek to coordinate and guide regional observing, research, and modeling of ocean and coastal acidification. MACAN would like to gain a better understanding of how stakeholders see coastal and ocean acidification affecting business operations or recreational fishing activities now or in the future. In addition, MACAN is seeking thoughts on opportunities to raise awareness and encourage participation in regional efforts to monitor for and adapt to coastal and ocean acidification.  

You can help by participating in MACAN’s Stakeholder Outreach Survey. To access the survey, click on your industry or affiliation from the list below. The survey should take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Your responses are voluntary and anonymous. Please respond by June 14, 2019.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact survey coordinators Kirstin Wakefield at Kirstin.wakefield@gmail.com or Grace Saba at saba@marine.rutgers.edu.  If you’d like to learn more about MACAN, please visit www.MidACAN.org, or send an email to: info@MidACAN.org.

This survey is a collaborative effort with Rutgers University. For more information, please contact Dr. Grace Saba, Assistant Professor, Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, 71 Dudley Rd, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Email: saba@marine.rutgers.edu.


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Joe Tangel‎
Highly sporting on the worms with 3 dead sticks


Crab Responses to Acidic Oceans, Updates

Source: Fish Radio with Laine Welch

By Laine Welch
April 17, 2019

This is Alaska Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – How off kilter ocean chemistry is affecting crabs. More results after this --

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Even while they were eggs inside their moms Alaska crabs have been test subjects for how increasing ocean acidity will affect them as they grow.

“What we are finding is that amount of energy that goes into those eggs early in the process has something to do with how the mom was exposed to OA. She doesn’t see the impacts directly, but we do see impacts on her offspring two years later. So there’s an effect down the line.”

Bob Foy is NOAA’s Science and Research Director based at the Auke Bay lab in Juneau.

For more than a dozen years Alaska scientists at NOAA labs have run long term experiments on king and Tanner crabs exposed to levels of acidity the ocean is expected to reach from 30 or more years out. It’s referred to as pH -

“Why does pH matter? If you go to the doctor and he drew blood to look at your health – metabolism and how your chemistry is functioning internally. It’s the same thing for fish in the ocean. pH changes the ability of the genes to work properly. pH changes the ion balance in the blood. It changes the ability of chemicals to move, for instance, food and calcium to shells of a crab. So understanding that dynamic is super important.”

The pH also affects the ability to form shells. Results show that red king crab are more susceptible than Tanner crab and Tanner crab more than snow crab. 

“We don’t show an effect of OA on snow crab – that’s pretty exciting because it’s the largest shellfish fishery in Alaska. But what we’re finding with red king crab, one of our most lucrative fisheries, is substantial impact.”

The mechanics of the claw in Tanners are affected, Foy says, but the carapace is not.

“Why does that matter? The claws are required for crushing that bivalve for food. If that’s more brittle, perhaps it will affect their ability to feed.”

Based on global estimates, the Bering Sea may reach a pH level of 7.5 to 7.8 in the next 75 to 100 years if not earlier.

 Based on computer models, for red king crab that could mean a 25 percent decline in the number of larvae hatching.  

“That means about a 50 percent decrease in catching and profits about 20 years after this onset of low pH or ocean acidification in Alaska. About 20 years, and that’s a buffer in there, the variability that we already see in the recruitment for these stocks. That equates to about $500 million to a billion dollars in total welfare lost to Alaska.”

Foy cautions what’s seen in the lab may be different in the wild. His presentation was hosted by the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, an arm of the Alaska Ocean Observing System.

Find links at www.alaskafishradio.com

Great white sharks are afraid of orcas, study finds

It appears one of the most fear-inducing predators in the ocean may have a fear of its own.

A new study led by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and published Tuesday in Nature found great white sharks leave their “preferred hunting ground” when orcas — also known as killer whales — enter it. In fact, researchers found the sharks won’t return to those areas for roughly a year — even if the orcas don’t stay that long.

To come to this conclusion, researchers “documented four encounters between the top predators at Southeast Farallon Island in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off San Francisco, California,” per the Monterey Bay Aquarium's news release on the findings. The scientists then “analyzed the interactions using data from 165 white sharks tagged between 2006 and 2013, and compiled 27 years of seal, orca and shark surveys at the Farallones.”


More specifically, researchers determined when both sharks and orcas were present at the Farallon Islands by comparing data from the electronic shark tags with “field observations of orca sightings.”

“This made it possible to demonstrate the outcome on the rare instances when the predators encountered each other,” per the study.

The “robust data sources” helped scientists to “conclusively show how white sharks clear out of the area when the orcas show up,” Jim Tietz, a study co-author, said in an online statement.

The sharks fled the island when the orcas arrived — and did not return until the following season — in all of the cases studied. Data from the electronic tags even showed all the great white sharks left the area just minutes after orcas arrived. This was true even when the killer whales were present for less than an hour.

“It turns out these risk effects are very strong even for large predators like white sharks — strong enough to redirect their hunting activity to less preferred but safer areas."

— Salvador Jorgensen

"On average we document around 40 elephant seal predation events by white sharks at Southeast Farallon Island each season," Monterey Bay Aquarium scientist Scot Anderson said in a statement. "After orcas show up, we don't see a single shark and there are no more kills."

"These are huge white sharks. Some are over 18 feet long and they usually rule the roost here," Anderson continued.

It's unclear why exactly the sharks leave. Researchers suspect it could be because the sharks are prey for the orcas, or possibly because they are bullied over food and ultimately forced out.

Sharks hightailing out of the area had an indirect benefit for elephant seals — which are often the preferred meal of both sharks and killer whales — in the Farallones. Researchers found there were “four to seven times fewer predation events on elephant seals in the years white sharks left,” per the study.


"We don't typically think about how fear and risk aversion might play a role in shaping where large predators hunt and how that influences ocean ecosystems,” added Salvador Jorgensen, the study’s lead author. “It turns out these risk effects are very strong even for large predators like white sharks — strong enough to redirect their hunting activity to less preferred but safer areas."

Jorgensen explained the study is important because it is one of the few that "demonstrates how food chains are not always linear," especially in the ocean. Interactions between predators are more difficult to document and analyze due to their infrequency.


5 Ways Climate Change Affects
The Mental Health Of Young People
The European Parliament’s recent ban on single-use plastic products was hailed as a positive step in the world’s battle against climate change.
Yet at the same time, younger generations around the world want to see more government action. Deeply concerned about their future as dire forecasts of a worsening environment continue, students from across the globe keep protesting. And while the threats often associated with climate change are to physical health, homes, the air, water, and economy, psychologists says the toll it takes on young people’s mental health can’t be ignored.
“The impact that all the aspects of climate change have on mental health is far-reaching,” says Leslie Landis (www.chendell.com), a family therapist and author of Chendell: A Natural Warrior, a fantasy novel with environmental themes. “It’s especially profound after natural disasters on teens, children and young adults – stress, depression, anxiety, and strains on relationships.
“On the other hand, the activism many young people are engaging in due to climate change is very mentally healthy. They’re inspiring others and trying to bring about action by getting people to take climate change seriously.”
Landis outlines some positive and negative impacts that climate change is having on the mental health of young people:
  • Activism. Young people are leading the way to fight climate change by forming mass protests around the globe. ”Climate justice is a fight for the future,” Landis says. “Despite rising sea levels, wildfires, extreme weather events and dire warnings from scientists, politicians globally haven’t responded as needed. And young people are enraged; they know that doing nothing, sitting silently, severely threatens their future.”

  • Innovation. In Congress, 29-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has put climate change solutions at the forefront with her proposed legislation, the “Green New Deal.” Young entrepreneurs are growing profitable businesses by focusing on environmentally friendly innovations. “Each project is an inspiring example of how young people are taking creative approaches to combating climate change,” Landis says. “In each there’s some solidarity, which is key to progress being made.”

 Anxiety, stress. “Fear of extreme weather, changing weather patterns, or worrying about what the future will look like because of climate change increases stress and anxiety,” Landis says. “That in turn can cause depression, sleep disorders and weaken the immune system.” One report says young people with depression and anxiety might be disproportionately more at risk for worsening symptoms due to climate change.
  • Trauma, shock. Natural disasters caused by climate change bring a high potential for severe psychological trauma from personal injury, the injury or death of a loved one, loss of personal property, and loss of pets. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result when feelings of helplessness and despair last for long periods.

  • Strained relationships. “Disasters can not only hit the structure of the home hard, but also the infrastructure of family relationships,” Landis says. “Relocations or just missing the usual conveniences can result in constant tension. Children may have to attend a different school, and the safe world revolving around their home doesn’t exist anymore.”

“We keep hearing the warnings about catastrophic conditions in the coming years, which add to lost hope among a lot of young people,” Landis says. “But the activism and ideas they engage in provide hope. And confronting a problem head-on is a wonderful way to achieve mental wellness.”

BIRD OF THE WEEK: April 19, 2019SCIENTIFIC NAME: Buteo jamaicensis
POPULATION: 2.6 million
TREND: Increasing 
HABITAT: Wide range of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, woodlands, tropical rainforests, agricultural and urban areas

Red-tailed Hawk range map, NatureServe />One of the largest and most common birds of prey in North America, the Red-tailed Hawk is a familiar sight even to nonbirders. It often thrives in suburbia and is seen along roadsides perched atop tall poles. This handsome raptor is the epitome of its genus, Buteo, with its wide wings, short tail, and chunky build.

Red-tailed Hawks have some unique features as well: a belly band formed of dark, vertical streaks, dark patagial markings (the patagium is the area running along the leading edge of the underwing), and the eponymous reddish-brown tail.

This big hawk is also a talented voiceover artist, standing in for one of the most often-seen raptors on television.

Red-tailed Voiceovers

The Red-tailed Hawk's long, raspy call is often heard on TV and in movies when a Bald Eagle is shown. In reality, the Bald Eagle has a chittering, high-pitched call, which apparently doesn't sound imposing enough to go along with its tough appearance. Enter the Red-tail, whose call has been deemed macho enough to substitute for the eagle's. It's used as a substitute so often that most people don't know what a Bald Eagle really sounds like! You can compare the two below.

“Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus)”xeno-cantoTAYLER BROOKS
Audio Player

(Audio by Tayler Brooks XC34863, accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/34863 and Paul Marvin XC165314, accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/165314)

Highly Heterogeneous Hawk

There are 14 recognized subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk, which vary most noticeably in color and shade. One subspecies in western North America, the Harlan's Hawk, has an all-dark body and is considered a separate species by some ornithologists. Some subspecies lack the typical field marks of the species, such as the dark belly band and reddish tail, making for tricky identification challenges. Juvenile birds can add to the confusion; instead of a red tail, immatures bird's show narrow brown-and-white bars on their tails.

Unlike the related Swainson's Hawk, which migrates long distances, many Red-tailed Hawks are resident. Others migrate relatively short distances, with northern populations tending to move south during the fall. Migratory behavior in this species is significantly influenced by weather, particularly snow cover and food supply.

Dietary Grab-Bag

Red-tailed Hawks feed on a wide variety of prey, although their diet primarily consists of rodents and rabbits, with reptiles and birds rounding out the diet. Red-tailed Hawks are also variable in their hunting styles, sometimes using a “sit-and-wait” strategy and at other times soaring or hovering high in the air to spot prey, then grabbing it from a high-speed stoop.

Red-tailed Hawk feeding chick, Collins92, Shutterstock

Faithful Mates

Red-tailed Hawks usually begin breeding when they are three years old. They are monogamous, remaining with the same mate for many years. In one striking courtship ritual, a male and female hawk fly together, diving and rolling in synchrony, then locking talons and falling together before splitting apart again.

These hawks usually only change mates when their original mate dies. One famous pair, Pale Male and Lola, nested on a Fifth Avenue building in New York City for years, to the delight of thousands of birders and city residents. As with other birds of prey, such as the Golden Eagle and Cooper's Hawk, females are larger than males.

Red-tailed Hawks build large stick nests that may be reused for several years. Urban Red-tails often take advantage of building ledges. Great Horned Owls may compete with Red-tailed Hawks for nest sites. Each species has been known to kill the young and destroy the eggs of the other while trying to take over a nest site.

Keeping Red-tails on the Wing

Unlike many other North American bird species, Red-tailed Hawks have increased and extended their range over the last century, likely the result of increased habitat created by human settlement, including fragmented woodlands, open areas, and suburban sprawl. The adaptable Red-tailed Hawk can take advantage of all these habitats.

Although not threatened, Red-tailed Hawks still face a gamut of dangers, including collisions with cars, buildings, and wind turbines. Electrocution on powerlines and lead poisoning are responsible for many hawk deaths, and rodenticides, heavily used in cities to control rats, fatally poison many city-dwelling Red-tails.

ABC has many programs that take on these threats, from our Wind Energy program to our Conservation Advocacy division. For example, after pressure from ABC and other groups, Reckitt Benckiser, parent company of the d-CON brand, pulled one of its deadliest rodenticides from retail store shelves in 2014.


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