We have an exciting new project starting this year! In January, we began research to better understand what the life of a coyotes is like and how much direct contact they make with pets and livestock. To do this, we are deploying camera collars that take up to 40 hours of video. Our findings will be used to better educate the public on how coyote behavior may be changing and how to keep their pets safe!
With the rapid spread of cities, don’t be surprised if you see a wild turkey in your backyard! Since they live in a mixture of wooded and open areas and have basic diets (nuts, berries, insects), urban areas can make pretty good habitat. You are likely to see them during the day, which is exciting during Thanksgiving! It is important not to approach the birds as they can become stressed or dangerous when threatened. Biologists recommend hazing individuals if they become problematic. Turkeys are a beautiful game species, and we are excited to see them in Atlanta! ~Carson
Throughout the summer, we have been working on a kid-friendly urban wildlife guide. This guide is meant to educate children (and their parents) about local mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian species that they may encounter on a day-to-day basis. Although the creation of the guide was tedious at moments (we wanted it to be perfect!), we are overjoyed with the outcome! Following the release, we are eager to get them distributed around metro-Atlanta and other urban areas of Georgia so that both kids and parents are able to learn about their local fauna. Download your copy here.
Camera traps are a common tool used in wildlife research to better understand wildlife behavior. Prior to my internship, I had never done camera trapping, so this was a totally new experience for me. While setting up cameras, Summer and I got to do some fun things, like ride golf carts and see local wildlife, and some not-so-fun things, like struggle to find cameras in the Georgia heat and walk around all day with soaking wet shoes. After these long field days, all that is left to do is wait and see what wildlife we find!
You are a Rockstar! You have impacted this project in more ways than I can count. I am so glad it was your enthusiastic voice on the phone saying “Good Morning!” whenever we had a capture in the middle of the night. Your passion and excitement for EVERYTHING is infectious, and it made those 3am calls a little easier. I am so proud of you for getting into graduate school (even if that means you can’t work for me anymore). I can’t wait to see where life takes you! Just don’t forget your Dr. Pepper.
Our field team rocked the show! Not only was this team full of young buddying scientists, it was also exclusively full of dedicated, excited, and inspiring women! We successfully deployed all 15 GPS collars, deployed all 60 camera traps, and cultivated relationships with community members and local organizations. I am proud to have led this team and am so grateful for their help throughout the season. Great job everyone!
GPS collar data recently showed that Coyote 8 was using habitat on both sides of I-85 in northeast Atlanta, which made us curious about how she might be crossing the interstate. Highways often serve as barriers to wildlife movement, which creates issues for wildlife populations, such as habitat fragmentation and genetic isolation. Conserving habitat corridors, or stretches of land that connect habitat areas, is a critical issue for wildlife conservation.
To investigate how Coyote 8 might be crossing the interstate, Summer and I went looking for potential corridors across I-85 within her territory. We discovered a culvert (a structure that allows streams to flow beneath roads) with raccoon, domestic cat, and coyote tracks. Culverts can serve as corridors for wildlife since they are a much safer option than crossing roads directly. We are glad that Coyote 8 has a safe method for traveling across her territory and excited to see what else her GPS collar data will reveal.
We have successfully collared our first coyote! Coy 1 is a healthy adult female that lives near Decatur, Ga. She is easily recognizable by her blonde coat coloration. Coyotes can have a variety of coat colors from black to blonde. The capture went smoothly, and the image shows her wearing an eye mask to reduce stress and leg restraints to prevent injury to herself or researchers. We are excited to start receiving location data from her GPS collar. Stay tuned for updates on her movement!