Tree Boring & Crossbills @ Hawk Mountain

On Saturday November 17th, the Millersville Mammalogy Class helped with data collection efforts at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.  Students helped with tree boring efforts by taking 2 mm wide core samples out of trees to count their rings and give an estimate of tree age.  Students also visited some of the overlooks at Hawk Mountain and were suprised by a small flock of white-winged crossbills that flew into the area (see below for a reference picture).     

White-winged Crossbill

Big Night For Saw-Whet Owls

On Wednesday evening November 21st, myself and 10 Biology students from Millersville University visited the Saw-whet owl banding station in Schuylkill County Pennsylvania.  A total of 18 Saw-Whet Owls were captured and banded this evening.  According to the master bander Nate McKelvie, this was a big night for Saw-whet Owls.    

Banding a Saw-whet Owl








Aging a Saw-whet Owl Based on Eye Color

Results of Camera Trapping Efforts at Holtwood Preserve

The Millersville Mammalogy Class concluded their survey of the Holtwood Preserve Site for the Lancaster Conservancy.   Overall, the following species were captured at the Holtwood site: White-footed mouse, Short-tailed shrew, Gray Squirrel, Red Fox, White-tailed deer, Woodchuck, Virginia Opossum, Feral Cat, Eastern Cottontail and Northern Raccoon.  Below are some camera trap results of mammal species photo-captured at Holtwood.


Northern Raccoon
White-tailed deer



Red fox with cottontail

Volunteering with Pheasants Forever

On Saturday November 3rd, I volunteered to help out with a youth hunt with Pheasants Forever.  It was a nice day with the young hunters getting some nice birds.  Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.  Below is a picture of myself with youth hunters and Pheasant Forever members.  Also included is a picture of a habitat corridor for ring-necked pheasants planted by Pheasant Forever members.  Thanks to Brian Bauerline for the pictures.






Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding

On Friday evening November 2nd, myself and Biology student Matt Zack visited an owl banding station run by Scott Weidensaul in Schuylkill County Pennsylvania.  Scott has been banding Saw-whets for many years to track their migratory movements and population cycles.  Matt Zack did a great job taking pictures of this unique owl species.






New Animal Mounts for the Biology Department

Thanks to the donations made by Steve Micio, the Millersville University Biology Department is now in possesion of several new animal mounts for use in display and education.  Mr. Micio donated these specimens with hopes that students could use them in their coursework to help in identification of different animal species.  Other mounts to come include a full Bull Elk and Grizzly Bear. 

Bird Walk #7

Got some new species this morning to add to our total bird list for the fall.  We had dark-eyed juncos (a new temperate migrant), pileated woodpecker, red-tailed hawk and we got a great look at an Eastern screech owl (below).  It was a red morph owl that was getting mobbed by song birds.  We went to investigate and saw it about 12 feet up in a tree that was still holding on to its leaves.  Great spot for the morning.  This brings our total to about 80 different species of birds.  Not bad for a simple 1/2 mile transect.

Eastern Screech Owl (

Bird Walk #6

Had a nice morning with a chorus of white-throated sparrows, northern mockingbirds and carolina wrens.  Had several new species we surveyed today during the twilight of the fall migration.  These species included the ruby-crowned kinglet, purple finch, palm warbler, song sparrow, and eastern towhee.  Our total list is up to 65 bird species.

Northern Mockingbird

Mammalogy Class & Service Learning

The Millersville University Mammalogy class is involved in a Service Learning Project with Lancaster Conservancy.  The Lancaster Conservancy just recently purchased new property in southern Lancaster County.  The Mammalogy class will be surveying this new property to get an idea of the mammal diversity within the area.  Recently, the Mammalogy Class checked rodent traps to get an idea of the small mammal diversity in the area.  Traps yielded multipe white-footed mice and a short-tailed shrew.  Other mammal trapping efforts will continue.

White-footed Mouse

Photo by Biology student Matt Zack.

Conservation Happenings at Millersville University

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