Summer in the Gore Region is a wonderful time to catch a glimpse of the rich biodiversity of the area. If you’re out hiking, paddling, biking, or just walking around the community, you may be lucky enough to spot one or more of these creatures!
Before heading out on an adventure, please check the status of COVID-19 in the Adirondacks and prepare accordingly.
Bald Eagles have been the national bird of the United States since 1782. These majestic birds at one time were an endangered species but have made a bit of a comeback and are now considered a threatened species. This is mainly due to heroic efforts by wildlife rehabilitators and the banning of DDT, a pesticide.
The New York State Bald Eagle Restoration Project began in 1976 in an attempt to re-establish a breeding population. They hand-reared the birds until they were able to be released into the wild. Over a 13 year period, 198 nestling bald eagles were collected (most from Alaska), transported, and released in New York State. A sighting of these birds is still quite rare but you may see them soaring over lakes and streams in the Gore Region.
Bald eagles are usually monogamous, and a mating pair will use the same nest every year, like a homeowner, constantly tweaking it and adding to it. Because of this, bald eagle nests can measure ten feet wide and ten feet thick. Nests are typically located very high in old-growth conifer or hardwood trees, within two miles of large bodies of both salt and freshwater, with most within sight of open water. Once a pair selects a nesting territory, they use it for the rest of their lives.
At first glance, you may mistake coyotes for dogs, like a small German Shepherd mix, but these guys will keep their distance from you. They are recognizable by their bushy tails and large, pointed ears. Their coats can vary in color, but are generally blonde or reddish blonde, tan, or mixed with black. The eyes are yellowish, with round pupils.
As wolves were driven out of the Adirondacks due to deforestation and hunting, it opened the door for coyotes to fill that vacated niche. Eastern Coyotes are relative newcomers to the Adirondack Park, having first been documented in the 1930s. The belief is that they migrated, following prey from the middle and western sections of North America.
Like our friend the bald eagle, coyotes also mate for life. Unlike wolves, coyotes don’t establish true “packs” with other adults, and instead, travel in “family units”. Coyotes are extremely territorial, and therefore are unlikely to cross into the territory of a different family. As families with young pups move around the area in late summer, it is common to hear the family howling and yipping, especially at night.
The name derives from its bushy tail, which has an undersurface of white hairs prominently visible when the animal erects its tail when disturbed. They are so well camouflaged that you’ll usually spot the white puff of tail before you see the deer itself as it bounds effortlessly through fields and brush.
White-Tailed Deer are most at home in forest edges, brushy fields, and early growth forests. In the summer, these deer are active in midday, as well as twilight. In all seasons, inclement weather reduces activity, with somewhat more movement just before and after storms. In the heat of summer, they typically inhabit fields and meadows using clumps of broad-leaved and coniferous forests for shade.
White-tailed Deer are diverse eaters but are strict vegetarians. They are classified as browsers: a herbivore that feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growing, generally woody, plants such as shrubs.
These deer have become used to people living and recreating nearby so you may see them wander into your yard if you live somewhat rurally or at a forest’s edge. They still spook easily so stay quiet and keep your distance if you want to get a good look.
Great Blue Herons
Spotting an ethereal great blue heron will stop anyone in their tracks. They have an unmistakable silhouette of lanky legs and an “S” curved neck. These quiet birds stand in the water awaiting prey with an impressive display of stoic patience. When they take flight, their wingspan can reach an impressive six feet! Once in flight, they can cruise along at 20 to 30 miles per hour.
Great blue herons are waders, typically seen along coastlines, in marshes, or near the shores of ponds or streams. They are expert fishers. Herons snare their aquatic prey by walking slowly, or standing still for long periods of time and waiting for fish to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills.
Because there is safety in numbers, a pair of great blue heron makes its nest close to the nest of other great blue herons. A colony, also known as a heronry, may contain from a dozen nests to over a hundred. Nests are located in beaver swamps with big standing dead trees. When the nesting trees fall down or the beavers move on, the herons leave, following the beavers.
The moose is the largest member of the deer family and the largest land mammal in New York State. Males (bulls) weigh from 600 to 1,200 pounds and stand up to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Females (cows) weigh from 500 to 800 pounds.
Moose are primarily browsers, feeding on the leaves, twigs, and buds of hardwood and softwood trees and shrubs. In the summer, moose feed heavily on aquatic plants in ponds and wetlands, wading into the water and reaching beneath the surface for plants. They also depend on these wet areas to escape from biting insects and hot weather.
Despite their enormous size, moose actually move very quietly and gracefully through forests and they camouflage well into surrounding trees. Moose sightings can be quite rare but your best bet to spot them is when they are partially or entirely submerged in water grazing on these plants. Wetlands that contain an abundance of these plants are ideal for spotting a moose. Keep in mind that moose are most active at dawn and dusk.
We hope you enjoyed learning about just a few of the amazing species you can expect to see within the Gore Region. Remember, you’re a visitor in their home so please maintain a respectful distance and demeanor if you see these creatures — don’t forget your camera and binoculars!