AQUIDNECK ISLAND, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Law Enforcement is seeking information about two recent incidents on Aquidneck Island of coyotes injured by illegal leg-hold traps.
Rhode Island is the smallest state, but it plays an outsized role in providing food and habitat for migrating birds traveling through the region each fall.
Since the 1980s, wild turkeys have migrated from rural western Rhode Island to urban and suburban neighborhoods, where they dine from bird feeders and on handouts from humans.
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Between 1,500 and 5,000 black ducks annually winter in ponds, salt marshes and protected coves in Rhode Island, and a couple hundred linger in the state for the summer, though only a few are believed to breed here.
MYSTIC, Conn. — The Seal Rescue Clinic at Mystic Aquarium is a modest, outdoor, fenced area where seals, sea turtles and other marine mammals rescued from nearby beaches are cared for until they are ready to be released back into the wild. And in mid-winter, it’s a busy place.
Just three North Atlantic right whales were born this winter, a precipitous decline in the species birth rate that has scientists concerned for the future of one of the rarest whales on Earth.
The official list of Rhode Island’s rare and endangered plants has been updated for the first time in a decade, and the picture is somewhat grim. A total of 81 species were added to the Rhode Island Natural Heritage Database, bringing the total to 414.
Once common and abundant across 28 states from Connecticut to South Dakota, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces, the rusty patched bumblebee has experienced a swift and dramatic decline since the late 1990s.
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The observation of a greylag goose in Watchemoket Cove has birdwatchers rushing to the pond adjacent to the Metacomet Country Club to try to catch a glimpse of the rare species. But it has also caused an intense debate over whether it’s a wild bird and, therefore, one that birders can add to their Rhode Island bird list.
In winter, they have become almost commonplace. Last January alone, bird watchers reported seeing bald eagles at Brickyard Pond in Barrington, Watchaug Pond in Charlestown, Tiogue Lake in Coventry, Stump Pond in Smithfield, Trustom Pond and the Great Swamp in South Kingstown and the Pawcatuck River in Westerly.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has proposed a series of changes to regulations governing the commercial harvest of horseshoe crabs in Rhode Island waters, but Save The Bay says the proposal doesn’t go far enough to protect the state’s horseshoe crab population.
KINGSTON, R.I. — So distinctly dark and quiet is an eastern hemlock forest that walking through a healthy stand has been described as finding oneself in a “cathedral-like atmosphere.” This native North American conifer is shade tolerant, and as it grows it keeps its needles on lower branches. This unique feature of hemlock trees creates a densely shaded forest floor where few other plant species can survive.
While climate change gets most of the media attention these days for the dramatic effects it is predicted to have — and, in some cases, is already having — on coastal communities, it has yet to have serious effects on eastern forests.