Writing and wildlife: two of my favorite Ws. As a crafty, wild-haired seven-year-old, I once created a storybook about a family of bears, complete with illustrations and curly ribbon binding. I loved to get dirty outside, play with bugs and polish rocks. Now, as a technical writer for the DWR, I’ve taken it to the next level.
That night, waterfowl activity seemed to increase with the rising moon. Wild wings were everywhere! The drake pintails were handsome greeters with their tuxedo-like plumage. Green-winged teal introduced the show as they propelled like fireworks over the vegetation, and then down over the water. This evening, they were the supporting cast to the greatest and most literal Swan Lake performance!
I still recall the sight, sound and feeling as the beautiful white birds soared past and landed on the water before me. It’s difficult to describe the spectacle with words. Blue was barely visible as the sky filled with honking, fluttering geese, all looking for a place to land. I was awestruck.
Just the other day I drove through an agricultural area near St. George and saw something I’d never expect in Utah: a white-tailed kite, sitting in a tree and begging to be photographed.
Learning to fly is a process, not a single event, and almost all peregrines come down to earth at least a few times. And the downtown area is a difficult place to learn to fly. Everywhere you look, there are hard surfaces: asphalt, concrete, brick, metal, glass and motor vehicles.
As a wildlife photographer, I am always looking for an opportunity to get close to wild animals. Several years ago, when rumors started to fly about California Condors frequenting the Kolob area near Zion National park, I decided to investigate and see for myself.
The Sunnyside bighorn herd consists almost entirely of rams, which number around 25, depending on the day and year. This particular group of bighorns is accustomed to both vehicle traffic and humans, and can often be observed and photographed at close range.
Division biologists from the Southeastern Region have been monitoring winter conditions and possible effects on mule deer populations. Up until a few weeks ago, the region had received perodic snow storms, followed by warming temperatures or rainfall.
During my undergraduate studies at the University of Mississippi, I had the opportunity to participate in a study-abroad program in Belize. It was a month-long study of the coral reef ecosystem and the fishes near an island off the coastline.
I hadn’t been asleep for too long before I was awakened by a metallic grinding sound. It seemed pretty strange, considering my remote mountain location. The sound stopped after a minute, and I went back to sleep. Then, a few minutes later…
Of all the activities I’ve participated in during my 20 years with the DWR, I would have to say that banding birds is my favorite. Banding often requires 24 hours of straight work, but it is such a rush, that you just don’t notice the lack of sleep or food!
Whether it’s winter, summer or somewhere in between, there’s always something exciting to see in Utah. We hold a variety of Watchable Wildlife program events across the state throughout the year. Here’s a quick look at 10 of our most popular annual activities.