Wildlife During the Longer Winter

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rich Hallett with the U.S. Forest Service examining trees damaged by rats in Kissena Corridor Park, Queens in April 2014. Rich Hallett with the U.S. Forest Service examining trees damaged by rats in Kissena Corridor Park, Queens in April 2014. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

We're not the only species that felt the unusually long and bitter winter. WNYC reporter Stephen Nessen, explains how rats were forced to eat trees. Asian tiger mosquitoes were also hit hard. And new kinds of birds are in the area. What signs of a long winter are you seeing in the city's natural world? Birders, which species are you seeing? Wildlife watchers and gardeners, what other signs of the polar vortex are you observing as spring begins?


Stephen Nessen

Comments [8]

cynthia from englewood, nj

For the caller who noticed what she called 'freezer burn' on her shrubs….That is a good way to describe it. The leaves did get burned by the cold and turned pale tan or gray. But the shrub itself should be fine. To test it, try bending a twig…. and if it bends, and doesn't snap off, the branch is still alive and will leaf out again. To make my shrubs look better, I ran my hand over the branches and knocked off a lot of the dead leaves. You will see the new leaf buds on the branches.

The azaleas and rhododendrons which were browsed by the deer should also recover. Yes, the plants get their nutrients from the leaves, but that doesn't happen until late in the growing season. So the new leaves will "feed" the shrub at the end of the summer. Every year the deer take all the leaves off my Manhattan euonymus, but in about a month the new leaves have filled in.

That doesn't mean we don't need to "do something" about the deer. They are VERY destructive and, as the caller mentioned, birth control does not work. It is very, very expensive…the deer need two treatments for it to be effective, and it is very hard to get those deer to come back for their second appointment.

But deer control is another, very complicated, controversial topic. I'd love to see WNYC tackle it someday.

Apr. 23 2014 11:53 AM
Dina from Westchester

Use of an anti-desiccant on plants will slow the loss of water from plant leaves; therefore, minimizing the browned, dried, freezer-burned look of the plants. I am really regretting not applying an anti-desiccant last Fall, but I have learned my lesson for this year!

Apr. 23 2014 11:43 AM
Pam from ny

To: Susie Robertson ("A hungry baby opossum looked in our back door in NJ several nights during very cold temperatures - looking for food left on the steps by our cat."):

What benefit is there to having your cat outside "during very cold temperatures"?

Apr. 23 2014 11:41 AM
urbangranolagirl from Jersey City

Jersey City has a skunk problem, and I kinda hope they did not survive the winter! (but I feel bad to say that.)

Apr. 23 2014 11:39 AM
Barbara from Shark River from Neptune NJ

The winter took a toll on my camellias--I worried all winter that they would be killed as they are marginal in this climate. I was happy to see that while all the buds were black and dead, most of the plants were fine, just a few dad twigs. Next year we should be back to normal, I hope!!

Apr. 23 2014 11:39 AM
BK from Hoboken

My home solar generation system output was less than 50% of the standard winter time estimated output. The panels have frozen snow on them all winter (usually the sun can melt the snow even when temps are below freezing).

Apr. 23 2014 11:32 AM
Jim from Chicago

I am a quiet Asian working hard for my life. I simply could not hold back when I heard on your show regarding college enrollment by race. Your guest (a woman, I forgot the name/title) mentioned, with a sigh, that while target percentage set aside for blacks and latins remain small (due to limited amount of students who pass already lowered standards), the portion for whites are mostly take up by Asians. Now I don't know how true this is, as I am not a specialist in this area, and I find "fact-based statistics"inIn a country that champions freedom of information and truthfulness can only be taken with a salt at best (In California as in many other places, blacks are recruited at much lower score than rejected Asians – who have never seen any kind of “affirmative action” for the prejudice and discrimination they suffered, and whose limited “success” through sheer hard work becomes target of jealousy and attack – although not be compared with white/black politicians, sports stars, business taicons, sex-touting pop artists whose billion-dollar businesses are in fact detrimental to U.S. material, social, moral life). But for argument’s sake, let’s be overly trusting and take this statement at face value, How did the Asians students (mostly children of poor immigrants) got thus far despite barriers-rather than AA’s? Why have I never heard you or your guests voice any concern about how Asians are excluded from the political scene? When I first graduated with a Master’s degree, my job application was rejected left and right, by whites and blacks, for similar or slightly different reasons (prejudice, jealousy, helping your own kind – in some Harlem schools blacks say this openly, wondering why an Asian would be hired there). The short-sightedness and narrowness of so many Americans that overlook a huge, growing parasitical population (no one talks about crime related costs - jails, lawyers and judges, food, victims' lifes, oh, criminal's free education!_) that whose every penny of their meagre income or social support is in fact built on the backs of hard working people like you and me, to the point the “richest” country would soon no longer be able to pay interests on its massive debt; and yet, it’s still the limited reward for the tremendous hard work by people like new Asian immigrants that “intellectuals” like yourself see and feel most uncomfortable with… laughable but sad.

Apr. 23 2014 11:25 AM
Caty from Manhattan

My super informed me that there were so many rats in our apartment building because it was cold out, so the rats needed somewhere to go.

Apr. 23 2014 10:47 AM

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