Happy Fourth of July!
The bald eagle serves not only as a national symbol, but also as a conservation success story. Bald eagles were at high risk for extinction in the early 1900’s due to habitat destruction, illegal shooting, and contamination of their food sources. They have since made a comeback both in Wisconsin and across the United States through the Bald Eagle Protection Act, federal listing under the Endangered Species Preservation Act, the banning of the pesticide DDT, and conservation actions by the public. Over the last 40 years, they have recovered from the brink of extinction and their range has expanded to 71 out of 72 counties in Wisconsin. There are plenty of ways for anyone who is interested to continue supporting bald eagles in Wisconsin and across the country. Members of the public can purchase an endangered resources plate or participate in the Adopt an Eagle Nest program. More suggestions from the American Eagle Foundation can be found here!
Check out some of our favorite bald eagle photos captured on Snapshot Wisconsin cameras from across the state!
In late February this year, a Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera deployed in Vilas County captured an American marten (Martes americana). This is the first time an American marten has been captured on a Snapshot Wisconsin camera! The below American marten was identified by the trail camera host, Ashley, and the identification was then confirmed by several species experts in the Wisconsin DNR. While American marten can vary in color, they are best identified by their pale buff to orange throats, dark legs and tails, vertical black lines running above the inner corners of their eyes, and bushy tails that account for one-third of their total length.
Extirpated from Wisconsin in the 1940’s, these small members of the weasel family were later reintroduced to the state and placed on the Wisconsin Endangered Species List in 1972 due to loss of suitable habitat. Marten are restricted to the northern portion of the state where they reside in dense, mature forests with preference for areas that are a mix of coniferous and deciduous trees.
Did you know that marten are excellent climbers? They use this skill not only to hunt down prey, but also to avoid potential danger. These solitary animals are very territorial, with territories spanning an average of two square miles for males and one square mile for females. Although the breeding season lasts from July to August, fertilized eggs do not fasten to the uterine wall until January or February. Females birth two to four kits in March or April, and raise their young in tree dens without any male assistance.
There is still much to be learned about American marten, as their nocturnal lifestyle and often shy demeanor make them a difficult species to study. Follow this link for more information about American marten in Wisconsin, and stay tuned to discover what rare species will be captured next on Snapshot Wisconsin trail cameras!
Test your Wisconsin wildlife identification skills with this below trail camera image. These small, rare members of the weasel family were once extirpated from the state and later reintroduced in Wisconsin northwoods. Staff members were pleasantly surprised when the first individual of this species made their debut on a Snapshot Wisconsin camera in Vilas County this year!
Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/.