PSU Deer Study

Why is Tom Wilson so happy?  Check out the photo a little closer.  Capture crews are enthusiastic about almost everything…including poop!  Because where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  Or in this case, where there’s poop…well you get the picture. 

Deer-Forest Study

And Janelle Musser is having some pretty good days at work.  She was able to snap this trio in her first week on the job.

Deer-Forest Study

(red eft Notophthalmus viridescens, porcupine Erethizon dorsatum, black bear Ursus americanus

On the vegetation side, our two field crews (one for the northern study areas and the other for southern sites) are visiting our 200 permanent vegetation plots and counting trees, seedlings, and herbaceous plants – ALL of them. The crew has to be able to identify over 200 species!

It may not sound like fun, but Nate Wilson is excited!

Deer-Forest Study

While out in the field this week here are some plants they discovered. Of course, many wildflowers are in full bloom.

Deer-Forest Study 

Trillium erectum, commonly known as wake-robin, red trillium, purple trillium, Beth root, or stinking Benjamin

Deer-Forest Study

Hairy Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum pubescens)

Both of these plants are browsed (and considered tasty!) by deer. Monitoring the abundance of such species is believed to provide an indicator of intensity of deer browsing (and also soil conditions).

And while out with the crews I flushed a songbird off her nest on the forest floor. Do you know what species? (Hint: the robin-blue eggs indicate it’s in the thrush family, but it’s not the American robin because it was nesting on the ground).

Deer-Forest Study

-Duane Diefenbach and Jeannine Fleegle


Thanks to the field crews for sharing photos!

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