Turtle Logs

Top Photo: Three of five sets of new turtle perches in Wetlands. With our changing wetlands and growing turtle population, basking perches for our resident turtles are at a premium. As old snags and logs that used to be in the wetlands rotted and decayed it’s become tough for a turtle to find a place to sun itself. It’s sometimes a tight squeeze for our aquatic turtles. A half a dozen years ago, I tossed in a 10’ pine logRead more

All Is As It Should Be

It is now May. Insects that we haven’t seen for months are back among us. Reptiles and amphibians are active as if winter had never happened. Many birds that have been far away in Central and South America have returned to the Museum grounds to make nests and raise families. It’s as if they never left. Keep your eyes and ears open for these creatures as you walk the paths and trails here at the Museum. I’ve gathered more thanRead more

Turtles?

With all of the snow and ice we’ve experienced recently, its difficult to believe that just a short while ago, January 16 to be exact, the two turtles in the above photo were out basking in the sun in our Wetlands. The eastern painted turtle (left and below) and yellow-bellied slider may yet again be seen hauled out on a log, and very soon. The temperatures are expected to be in the sixties this weekend, and may even get close toRead more

Laying Eggs

Alerted to its presence by Dale (Facilities), I took a detour in my weekly bluebird nest box inspection Tuesday and hightailed it up to the summer camp outdoor classrooms to see if the yellow-bellied slider he reported was still there. Dale said that she was in the middle of laying eggs and I wanted to first, see who she was (I mark the nesting turtles here at the Museum), and then confirm she was indeed laying eggs. When I arrived, theRead more

Painted Turtle Nest

Thanks to the vigilance of Animal Keeper Sarah, with an assist from Keeper Kent, we now have a turtle’s nest to monitor. On June 21, Keeper Sarah spotted an eastern painted turtle laying eggs next to the gravel driveway that leads to the Red Wolf Enclosure.     I placed a cage over the nest site to keep predators, such as raccoons, from digging up and eating the eggs. There are numerous sites throughout our campus where turtles have depositedRead more

A Trapped Turtle

It was morning on the 12th of May. I received a call from Animal Keepers, Autumn and Sarah about a snapping turtle seen near the entrance to the bear compound. When I arrived on the scene the snapper had entered a small swamp between the compound and the open water of the Wetlands and was heading towards the water. The turtle had probably been out laying eggs and was now headed back to the safety and security of its much preferred aquatic habitat. SnappersRead more

Turtle Time

By this time of year I should have seen six, eight, even a dozen female turtles walking along the paths here at the Museum. Each spring, our aquatic turtles leave the water in search of safe places to dig a nest and lay eggs. I’ve only seen three turtles out and about this season. Two of those were relayed to me by Animal Keepers Autumn and Sarah. One was an eastern musk turtle, the other a common snapping turtle. The third turtle, aRead more

Spring Rolls Along

Spring continues to move along and the flora and fauna here at the Museum rolls along with it. Thousands, no, millions of neotropical migrant birds are moving through our area, flowers are inviting insects to pollinate themselves, tadpoles are becoming frogs, fish eggs have hatched, and an old friend showed up in the Wetlands. Warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, swallows, and many other birds are migrating north at this time. Most migrate at night (less likely to be seen by hungry hawkRead more

Other September Sights

As many of you know, birds are on the move. The other day I ran into a group of neotropical migrants out on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. In attendance were common yellowthroat, American redstart, Blackburnian, magnolia, northern parula, and prairie warblers, and red-eyed and white-eyed vireos to name just a handful. I’m sure I missed seeing many of the birds that were around that day, but there’s more to come. The next cold front should bring inRead more

Chasing Turtles

I’ve been watching turtles here at the Museum since my arrival some 6 years ago. We have about five species in our Wetlands: Yellow-bellied Slider, Red-eared Slider, Eastern Painted, Eastern Musk, and Common Snapping Turtles. You might be thinking, “Hey, what’s he talking about, you either have five species or you don’t,” and you’d be right. The reason I say about five species is because the red-eared is not native. I haven’t seen any adults that I can definitely call red-eared,Read more