Wildlife Program

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We provide rigorous and unbiased information on migratory birds, terrestrial and marine mammals, amphibians and reptiles, terrestrial plants, threatened and endangered species, wildlife disease, and on wildlife issues resulting from human activities. Our science contributes toward a more complete understanding of the Nation’s ecosystems and landscapes.

An ARMI of Many

An ARMI of Many

The USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) provides critical information about amphibian populations and life history traits, environmental characteristics, and potential causes of decline.

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Wildlife Health

Wildlife Health

The National Wildlife Health Center is an international leader in the timely and accurate diagnosis of wildlife illness and mortality critical to achieving effective disease control and prevention.

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Research Highlights

Our research is focused on the study of wildlife populations, their habitats, and the factors that influence their health.

Renewable Energy: Wind & Solar

Wildlife Disease

Pollinators

Whooping Cranes

Desert Tortoise

News

Date published: April 11, 2019

WERC Scientists Combine Bird Calls and Artificial Intelligence to Keep Tabs on the Elusive Ashy-Storm Petrel (Audubon magazine)

CALIFORNIA COAST – Artificial intelligence and acoustic sensors help scientists monitor seabirds

Date published: April 10, 2019

Burrowing owls and horned lizards thrive in ecological hot spot next to Los Angeles airport (Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES -- WERC Researchers study lizards and owls at the LAX Dunes preserve

Date published: October 26, 2018

A Unified Research Strategy for Disease Management

As wildlife diseases increase globally, an understanding of host-pathogen relationships can elucidate avenues for management and improve conservation efficacy. Amphibians are among the most threatened groups of wildlife, and disease is a major factor in global amphibian declines.

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Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Migratory Birds

Migratory birds, and particularly those using habitats close to human settlements, may be infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.  The USGS is working with public health professionals to understand the role of birds in the maintenance and dispersal of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Additionally, the USGS is investigating how antibiotic resistant bacteria in birds may relate to public and...

Date published: August 13, 2018
Status: Active

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

The USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative will enhance the long-term science foundation needed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other partners.

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Loon Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on Alaska’s three loon species since the late 1970s. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and fish and invertebrates inhabiting lakes and marine ecosystems for food. All three loon species in Alaska occur within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast. Research by the USGS is...

Date published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Grazing resources for integrated conservation of bison and native prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park (BADL) contains one of the largest protected expanses of mixed-grass prairie in the United States, much of which supports a herd of nearly wild bison. The park nevertheless is too small to accommodate bison’s natural nomadic behavior, which in the past resulted in their ephemeral but intense influence on Great Plains grasslands. This research is assessing the spatial...

Contacts: Amy Symstad
Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Seabirds and Forage Fish Ecology

Alaska's coastal and offshore waters provide foraging habitat for an estimated 100 million birds comprising more than 90 different species; from loons and seaducks that nest inland, to petrels and puffins that breed on islands off shore. All these birds depend on the sea to provide a wide variety of food types— from clams, crabs and urchins nearshore— to krill, forage fish, and squid offshore...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Vector-borne Disease Research

Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases per year in the U.S.  We are studying transmission of the spirochete that causes this disease among wild animals and the blacklegged tick vectors, to determine why Lyme disease is common in the northeast and northern Midwest but rare in the south, even though blacklegged ticks are present in all...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Forest Structure Resulting from ‘Wildlife Forestry Silviculture’

The Challenge: Management of bottomland forests using wildlife forestry silviculture is being undertaken to achieve desired forest conditions for priority silvicolous wildlife, such as Louisiana black bear, migratory birds, and resident game species. Wildlife forestry management results in forests that have more open canopies and increased understory vegetation yet exhibit heterogeneous...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Assessing Amphibian Disease Risk in the Northeast

The Challenge: Disease in amphibian populations can have a range of effects, from devastating declines following introduction of a novel pathogen to recurring breakout events on a landscape. Elucidating mechanisms underlying the effects of diseases on amphibian populations is crucial to help managers make appropriate decisions to achieve management goals for amphibians.

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI): Understanding Amphibian Populations in the Northeastern United States

Currently, 90 amphibian species are recognized in the Northeast, including 59 species in the Order Caudata (salamanders) and 31 species in the Order Anura (frogs and toads). Almost half of the amphibians in the Northeast are salamanders within the family Plethodontidae. Amphibians are found in all physiographic regions of the Northeast, from sea level to the heights of the Appalachian,...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Conservation of Rare Vegetation Communities of the Atlantic Coastal Barrier Islands

The Challenge: A synthesis of the role of disturbance, in all of its manifestations, on the establishment and development of the American Holly forest is required to guide future conservation measures. Because many forest fragments have already endured >30 years of chronic deer herbivory, a legitimate question of how much more impact by deer can be tolerated and still conserve the essential...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Completed

A Vaccination Program to Protect Endangered Whooping Cranes from Encephalitis Virus

The Challenge: In eastern North America there is a viral disease called Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. This virus is transmitted among native bird species by the mosquito, Culiseta melanura, but does not cause disease in these passerine species. However, the virus is capable of causing severe disease or death in horses, some game bird species, humans and whooping cranes. In the fall of...

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Date published: September 7, 2018

Statistical Tools for Wind and Solar Energy Development and Operations

Solar and wind power development is increasing exponentially in the United States. However, these energy sources may affect wildlife, either directly from collisions with the turbine blades or photovoltaic arrays or indirectly from loss of habitat and migration routes. An important component to understanding the effects of these renewable energy projects on wildlife is accurate and precise...

Date published: April 27, 2018

North American Breeding Bird Survey Dataset

The North American Breeding Bird Survey dataset contains avian point count data for more than 700 North American bird taxa (species, races, and unidentified species groupings).  These data are collected annually during the breeding season, primarily June, along thousands of randomly established roadside survey routes in the United States and Canada.

Date published: January 1, 2018

Preliminary evaluation of behavioral response of nesting waterbirds to small unmanned aircraft flight

This dataset is comprised of 3 .csv files related to the use of unmanned aerial systems over waterbird colonies. Specifically, data detail the disturbance observed in birds during flights, the time required for traditional ground surveys to be conducted, and the distance at which birds flush during traditional ground surveys.

Date published: October 30, 2017

Movement Maps for Suisun Marsh Waterfowl and Waterbird Studies

Suisun Marsh is a critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterbirds in California. USGS is working with the California DWR to examine the trends in bird decline and to assess the habitat factors driving long-term survival of waterfowl, rails, and other birds in this important area.

Date published: August 7, 2017

Atypical Feeding Behavior of Long-tailed Ducks in the Wake of a Commercial Fishing Boat while Clamming

Data represents analyses of gizzard and gullet (esophagus and proventriculus) of nine ducks using traditional techniques

Date published: July 11, 2017

Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012

Germaine, S.S., Carter, S.K., Ignizio, D.A., and Freeman, A.T., 2017, Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BR8QDD. DOI: 10.5066/F7BR8QDD

Date published: July 6, 2017

Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013

The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow...

Date published: February 8, 2017

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) anuran detection data from the eastern and central United States (1994-2015)

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) was a collaborative citizen science effort between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 26 Partners (state agencies, universities, and nonprofits) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States.

Date published: January 1, 2017

Effects of local shoreline and subestuary watershed condition on waterbird use influences of geography scale and season in the Chesapeake Bay

This dataset is comprised of six files related to waterbird surveys and resulting Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores in 21 subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay from 2010-2014. Two .csv files (1 data file: Prosser et al 2017_IWCI Results MS_Bird Survey Raw Data.csv, 1 definitions file: Prosser et al 2017_IWCI Results MS_Bird Survey Raw Data_Definitions.csv) contain data related...

Date published: July 14, 2016

Diamondback Terrapins in Chesapeake Bay, 2002 Beach Survey

The survey was conducted in summer 2002 to assess the presence of terrapins in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Results are spatial locations of evidence related to nesting.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) Trend Data

The ARMI database provides occupancy and abundance estimates at the project level. Data can be accessed in tabular format or plotted directly via an interactive map browser. The trend data is updated annually and is useful for tracking the status of some of our nation’s amphibian populations.

Date published: March 4, 2016

SAGEMAP

A GIS Database for Sage-grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West.

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Date published: October 30, 2017

Movement Maps for Suisun Marsh Waterfowl and Waterbird Studies

Suisun Marsh is a critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterbirds in California. USGS is working with the California DWR to examine the trends in bird decline and to assess the habitat factors driving long-term survival of waterfowl, rails, and other birds in this important area.

Date published: July 20, 2017

Re-establishing Waterbird Breeding Colonies in San Francisco Bay

This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) story map details how partners are using ​science and management to maintain and establish new ​bird ​nesting colonies in support of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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Year Published: 2019

Nonlinearities in transmission dynamics and efficient management of vector-borne pathogens

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach to minimizing economic and environmental harm caused by pests, and Integrated Vector Management (IVM) uses similar methods to minimize pathogen transmission by vectors. The risk of acquiring a vector-borne infection is often quantified using the density of infected vectors. The relationship between...

Ginsberg, Howard S.; Couret, Jannelle

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Year Published: 2019

Genetic tagging in the Anthropocene: Scaling ecology from alleles to ecosystems

The Anthropocene is an era of marked human impact on the world. Quantifying these impacts 51 has become central to understanding the dynamics of coupled human-natural systems, resource52 dependent livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation. Ecologists are facing growing pressure to 53 quantify the size, distribution, and trajectory of wild...

Clayton T Lamb; Adam T Ford; Michael Proctor; Royle, Andy; Garth Mowat

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Year Published: 2019

Knowing your limits: Estimating range boundaries and co-occurrence zones for two competing plethodontid salamanders

Understanding threats to species persistence requires knowledge of where species currently occur. We explore methods for estimating two important facets of species distributions, namely where the range limit occurs and how species interactions structure distributions. Accurate understanding of range limits is crucial for predicting range dynamics...

Amburgey, S. M.; Miller, D. A. W. ; Brand, Adrianne B,; Dietrich, Andrea M.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.

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Year Published: 2019

Effect of corolla slitting and nectar robbery by the Eastern Carpenter Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on fruit quality of Vaccinium corymbosum, L.; (Ericales: Ericaceae).

Eastern carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica (L.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), are among the most abundant native bee visitors to highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum L., flowers in the northeastern United States, and they sometimes display corolla-slitting behavior to rob nectar. We studied foraging behavior of X. virginica...

Tucker, Sara K; Ginsberg, Howard S.; Alm, Steven R.

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Year Published: 2019

Identifying common decision problem elements for the management of emerging fungal diseases of wildlife

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) of wildlife have characteristics that make them difficult to manage, leading to reactive and often ineffective management strategies. Currently, two fungal pathogens, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), are causing declines in novel host species. To improve the...

Bernard RF; Campbell Grant, Evan H.

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Year Published: 2019

North-facing slopes and elevation shape asymmetric genetic structure in the range-restricted salamander Plethodon shenandoah

Species with narrow environmental preferences are often distributed across fragmented patches of suitable habitat, and dispersal among subpopulations can be difficult to directly observe. Genetic data collected at population centers can help quantify gene flow, which is especially important for vulnerable species with a disjunct range. Plethodon...

Mulder, KP; Cortes-Rodriguez, Nandadevi; Brand, Adrianne B,; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Fleischer, Robert C.

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Year Published: 2019

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae): Nest structure, nest cell provisions, and trap nest acceptance in Rhode Island

Analysis of pollen provisions in Xylocopa virginica (L.) nests in southern Rhode Island showed that this species produced pollen loaves from 21 different genera of plants in 2016, 19 in 2017, and 39 in 2018. Antirrhinium majus L. (garden snapdragon) pollen was the most common type collected in all three years (21.4%). Overall,...

Tucker, Sara K; Ginsberg, Howard S.; Alm, Steven R.

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Year Published: 2019

Annual survival, site fidelity, and longevity in the eastern coastal population of the Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) based on a 20-year mark-recapture/resighting study

A long-term study of annual survival, longevity, and site fidelity in the eastern coastal population of the Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) during the breeding season was conducted from 1999 through 2018 in the outer coastal plain of the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States. Painted Buntings were uniquely color-banded from 1999...

Sykes, Paul W. Jr; Freeman, Mary C.; Sykes, Joan J.; Seginak, John T.; M. David Oleyar; Egan, Joshua P.

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Year Published: 2019

Future directions to escalate benefits of stepping-stone approach for conservation translocations

Through a reintroduction case study on the critically endangered Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis), we introduced a ‘stepping-stone’ approach which utilizes the transition of released individuals among populations to maximize demographic growth potential (Lloyd et al. 2019). We greatly appreciate and hereby reflect on the...

Lloyd, N.A.; Hostetter, N.J.; Jackson, C.L.; Converse, Sarah J.; Moehrenschlager, A.

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Year Published: 2019

Pathways to strategic communication for biodiversity conservation: Response to “Hearing ourselves (and acting in consequence): A commentary on Bekessy et al. from a bird-handling environmental education perspective”

Central to discussions about the merits of ecosystem services as a communication strategy is the degree to which it represents a strategic and effective approach to advance biodiversity conservation. There is increasing recognition that many conservation communication efforts can be more strategic (e.g. Kusmanoff et al. 2016).

Kusmanoff, Alex; Runge, Michael C.; Keith, David A.; Wintle, Brendan A.; Bekessy, Sarah A.

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Year Published: 2019

Functional variation at an expressed MHC class IIß locus associates with Ranavirus infection intensity in larval anuran populations

Infectious diseases are causing catastrophic losses to biodiversity globally. Iridoviruses in the genus Ranavirus are among the leading causes of amphibian disease-related mortality. Polymorphisms in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are significantly associated with variation in amphibian susceptibility to pathogens. MHC genes encode...

Savage, Anna E.; Muletz-Wolz, Carly R.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Fleischer, Robert C.; Mulder , Kevin P.

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Year Published: 2019

Using the value of information to improve conservation decision making

Conservation decisions are challenging, not only because they often involve difficult conflicts among outcomes that people value, but because our understanding of the natural world and our effects on it is fraught with uncertainty. Value of Information (VoI) methods provide an approach for understanding and managing uncertainty from the standpoint...

Bolam, Friederike C.; Grainger, Matthew J.; Mengerson, Kerrie L.; Stewart, Gavin B.; Sutherland, William J.; Runge, Michael C.; McGowan, Philip J. K.

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Date published: January 1, 1999

CloseTest

CloseTest is a Windows program for testing capture-recapture data

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Who's who?  Front and back print casts of grizzly (top) and black bear (bottom).
February 27, 2019

Who's who? Print casts of grizzly (top) and black bear (bottom).

Who's who?  These are print casts of front and back paw prints of a grizzly bear (top) and black bear (bottom). The casts on the right are the front paws of each species; the casts on the left are the back.  How do you tell? 

Grizzly/brown bear toes are closer together and form a fairly straight line above the paw pad. On a black bear, the toes are further apart and

...
Juvenile salt marsh harvest mouse
December 31, 2018

Juvenile Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris)

USGS wildlife biologists holding a juvenile salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris). The species is listed as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Outstanding in the field podcast album art
December 10, 2018

Outstanding in the Field (Ep 1): To Bee or Not to Bee

The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area brings you Outstanding in the Field, a series of stories about our science, our adventures, and our efforts to better understand our fish and wildlife and the ecosystems that support them. This episode's buzz is all about pollinators, the birds, bees, bats, beetles, and other animals that feed on pollen from plants and help bring about one

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owl
December 8, 2018

Burrowing Owl at LAX Dunes Preserve

A burrowing owl, captured by a wildlife camera, standing next to the enterence of its den.

Manatee Health Assessment
December 6, 2018

Manatee Health Assessment

USGS conducts a health assessment on a mantee in Crystal River, Florida.

Pacific fisher on a tree looking into a bait box
October 24, 2018

Pacific fisher trying to grab a chicken dinner from the bait box

USGS scientists are documenting the distribution of three mid-sized mammalian carnivores – or mesocarnivores –in the Klamath Network Parks using remote cameras and hair snares. Little is known about the status of Pacific fishers, Pacific martens, and Sierra Nevada red foxes living in the Klamath Network, which include Crater Lake National Park, Lassen Volcanic National

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Female northern harrier
July 13, 2018

Adult Female Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

An adult, female northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) flies overhead in Suisun Marsh, CA. Before habitat loss drove declines in the bird's populations, Suisun Marsh hosted the state's largest population of northern harriers.

adult male harrier
July 13, 2018

Adult Male Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

An adult male Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) surveys Suisun Marsh, CA. Males are known for their beautiful, steel-gray plumage.

March 5, 2018

Polar Bear Collar Cam B-Roll 2014, 2015, 2016

Exciting polar bear cam b-roll footage from the bear’s perspective from 2014, 2015, and 2016. The USGS Alaska Science Center Polar Bear Research Project conducts long-term research on polar bears to inform, local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation and management of the species and its habitat. The USGS’s studies are primarily focused on

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Manatee Health Assessment
February 1, 2018

Manatee Health Assessment

USGS conducts a health assessment on a mantee in Crystal River, Florida.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Social Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

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USGS
December 31, 2017

Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

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Date published: April 11, 2019

WERC Scientists Combine Bird Calls and Artificial Intelligence to Keep Tabs on the Elusive Ashy-Storm Petrel (Audubon magazine)

CALIFORNIA COAST – Artificial intelligence and acoustic sensors help scientists monitor seabirds

Date published: April 10, 2019

Burrowing owls and horned lizards thrive in ecological hot spot next to Los Angeles airport (Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES -- WERC Researchers study lizards and owls at the LAX Dunes preserve

Date published: October 26, 2018

A Unified Research Strategy for Disease Management

As wildlife diseases increase globally, an understanding of host-pathogen relationships can elucidate avenues for management and improve conservation efficacy. Amphibians are among the most threatened groups of wildlife, and disease is a major factor in global amphibian declines.

Date published: July 31, 2017

Mapping Public Lands in the United States

The Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) is the official inventory of public parks and other protected areas in all U.S. states and territories.

Date published: July 12, 2017

Flexibility in Behavior of Some Animals Helps Them Accommodate a Changing Climate

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners has identified situations and conditions where some animals display behavioral flexibility – the ability to rapidly change behavior in response to short – or long-term environmental changes such as climate variability. 

Date published: July 5, 2017

Return of the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

From the journals of Lewis & Clark, April 13, 1805 (in the vicinity of Pouch Point Recreation Area - 16 miles south of New Town, North Dakota):

Date published: July 5, 2017

Hot new imagery of wintering bats suggests a group behavior for battling white-nose syndrome

Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.

Date published: June 19, 2017

It’s Pollinator Week!

Pollinators in the form of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles provide vital but often invisible services, from supporting terrestrial wildlife and plant communities, to supporting healthy watersheds.

Attribution: Wildlife Program
Date published: December 19, 2016

The Other 364 Days of the Year: The Real Lives of Wild Reindeer

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer and caribou are large, cold-adapted, herding herbivores related to deer, elk and moose.

To learn more about how these arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year, we talked to USGS caribou expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 30 years.

Date published: December 12, 2016

Not Just for Kissing: Mistletoe and Birds, Bees, and Other Beasts

Perhaps some of you have already experienced a sweet smooch or two under the holiday mistletoe, enjoying this fairly old kissing ritual for people. While figuring prominently in ancient lore, mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters. In fact, some animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe.

Date published: September 28, 2016

Local Wind Energy Development Has Broad Consequences for Golden Eagles

Roughly over a quarter of the golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Northern California from 2012-2014 were recent immigrants to the local population, according to research led by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Date published: September 19, 2016

Sea Otter Survey Encouraging, but Comes Up Short of the “Perfect Story”

SANTA CRUZ, California — The southern sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis, continues its climb toward recovery, according to the annual count released today by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.

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