Through a partnership between the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife and the Indiana Audubon Society, 46 Eastern red cedar 8-foot tall bushes were planted on private lands home to loggerhead shrikes. With there being just five nesting pairs of shrikes left in Indiana, the partners are working to conserve the state endangered species before it is too late.
The loggerhead shrike is a state endangered species experiencing precipitous declines in recent years. In the late 1980s, Indiana’s Loggerhead Shrike population consisted of nearly one hundred breeding pairs. Habitat loss due to changes in land use is a contributing factor, as much of the grassland habitat in their historical range has been developed or converted to large scale agriculture.
Remaining shrike breeding pairs now tend to occupy small farms with over grazed pasture, barbed wire fences, and nest bushes. Overgrazed pastures produce bare ground, which provides ideal hunting conditions for shrikes who need to spot and capture prey on the ground, but little nesting trees and shrubs. The DNR’s current efforts are working to provide shrike nesting habitat by focusing on nest bushes and shrubs along fence-rows. In helping with the initiative, IAS and the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife Non-game program is teaming up for the Adopt a Shrike program. Donors will receive a special adoption certificate highlighting the shrike research and conservation being done, an annual report detailing all of the year’s shrike banding efforts, and a commemorative “Never met a shrike I didn’t like” T-shirt. Each adoption is $50 and can be purchased through the IAS Online Store.
Loggerhead Shrikes need widely spaced large bushes in short grassland areas for nesting and cover to escape from predators like hawks. The bushes planted this spring will help the birds by giving them more places to nest and hide. You can help loggerhead shrikes by donating to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund or by adopting a shrike at https://indianaaudubon.org/adopt-a-shrike/.
If you see a loggerhead shrike, please report it to: Amy Kearns, 562 DNR Road, Mitchell, IN 47446 or call (812) 849-4586 ext. 223 or email her at akearns@dnr.IN.gov.
Co-Existing With Canada Geese
Have you noticed geese and their young walking across the road during the summer? That’s because adult Canada geese molt every summer. Before new flight feathers grow in, Canada geese are essentially grounded for a month, and new goslings also grow their first sets of flight feathers during this time of year. In Indiana, peak molting for Canada geese happens during the last two weeks of June through the first two weeks of July.
While gently harassing geese where they may be causing conflict is encouraged, harassing them during their molt is not effective or ethical because the geese have limited physical mobility. Instead, install fencing or a vegetation barrier at least 30 inches tall prior to goose nesting. Fencing can be made from a wide range of materials, but any gaps should be no wider than 3 inches. Although fencing does not prevent flying geese, adult geese know goslings need to be able to walk to food and water. Vegetation barriers can be created from native plants, including grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs. The barriers should be 20-30 feet wide around the edge of water sources. The vegetation creates a living barrier while providing habitat for many other species of wildlife.
For more information about living with Canada geese, visit wildlife.IN.gov/2996.htm or contact your district wildlife biologist.
Indiana State Parks Improvements
Guests may notice a variety of improvements enhancing campgrounds, restrooms, trails, and other facilities in the Indiana State Parks system of 24 state parks and eight reservoir properties as we move into the traditional summer recreation season. Skilled park staff completed many of the improvements; partners and volunteers helped with many projects; and non-profit “friends” groups contributed thousands of dollars and hours.
Collectively, Indiana State Park properties manage more than 2,000 buildings, 700 miles of trails, 636 hotel/lodge rooms, 17 marinas, 75 launching ramps, 17 swimming pools, 15 beaches, 7,701 campsites, more than 200 shelters, 160 or so playgrounds and 150 cabins.
“Creative and dedicated employees stretch the dollars that you pay when you enter the gate, rent a campsite, launch a boat or attend a special workshop or program,” said Ginger Murphy, deputy director of Indiana State Parks. Examples of system-wide improvements include:
• New, efficient LED lighting in various buildings, from offices to comfort stations.
• Various small campground improvements in different locations, ranging from leveling and adding gravel to sites to new fixtures, sinks and dividers in comfort stations, and upgrades from 30- to 50-amp service.
• Invasive plant removal, prescribed fire and habitat improvements totaling several thousand acres.
• Fish habitat improvements at several reservoirs.
Examples of site-specific improvements include:
• New road pavement projects at Harmonie State Park and Hardy Lake.
‘till next time,