Early in 2023, our coverage of wildlife focused on birds as a dangerous avian flu had killed off more wild birds than past strains.
We heard reports of snow geese, loons, eagles and many other birds dying in the Adirondack interior and along the shores of Lake Champlain. The outbreak caused wildlife rehabilitators and others who handle birds to take more care than normal, as they were forced to deal with a wildlife pandemic on the heels of the human one.
The threat isn’t the only that these winged creatures have been facing in recent years. Surveys by scientists found that many birds are disappearing from the Adirondacks, including lowland boreal species due to climate change and other factors.
Human development has also played a role in decreasing populations. Cats and structures have taken their toll on birds in recent years, and so have artificial lights in developed areas. Scientists have been concerned about light pollution’s impact on birds for decades and places such as the Adirondack Park aren’t immune to the problems. Even the state is taking steps to reduce light pollution at night during the peak migration seasons.
But small mammals weren’t the only ones in the spotlight. Wolves, which disappeared from the Adirondacks in the 1800s, have been in the news in recent years because a wild one was killed by a deer hunter south of the Adirondack Park in Cherry Valley a couple of years ago. Earlier this year, more test results showed the animal had likely dispersed from a wild population. The evidence surrounding this wolf has galvanized wolf advocates to push for more protections for wild canids.
While some people continue to push for the return of wolves to northern New York, one of their potential prey species, moose, remains under the microscope of researchers. The Adirondack moose population once looked like it would explode after returning in the 1980s, but it’s remained stuck in the hundreds for decades, leaving scientists looking for answers.
While many wildlife stories seem to be a cause for concern, there was some positive news this year too. On the Saranac River, some dams were removed near the mouth of the Saranac River, which will allow better passage up the river for spawning salmon. The fish could reach stretches of river they haven’t seen in more than 200 years.
And late this summer, a Canadian writer and environmentalist made an effort to inspire people to learn more about the Algonquin to Adirondacks wildlife corridor that spans the two parks. Sixty-four-year-old Jamieson Findlay hiked and biked hundreds of miles between the two protected areas, following in the footsteps of the legendary Alice the Moose, which travelled northward from Newcomb. We covered some of Findlay’s efforts early in his journey and have an in-depth piece about him and the corridor appearing in the January issue.
Photo at top: Researchers release a juvenile moose after putting a GPS collar on it in January for a new study. Photo provided by DEC
We cover the Adirondack Park like no other publication, through our in-depth reporting, investigations, news and analysis. When you make a donation now, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.