Swallow-Tailed Kite Sightings

Please Report Swallow-tailed Kite Sightings

Biologist, Jennifer Coulson, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) request reports of sightings of this rare bird. Of particular interest are:

  1. any sightings of a kite on LDWF managed lands,
  2. areas where kites are often seen,
  3. sightings of more than one kite,
  4. sightings were kite(s) vocalized (giving kee-kee-kee, or klee-klee-klee calls),
  5. kites carrying nest material or food,
  6. nests or roosts, and
  7. any kites found injured, ill, or dead.

Please report the following information about each sighting (if known):

  1. Date of sighting
  2. Time of day
  3. Number observed
  4. Location [please be specific and include the Parish or County, nearest town and approximate distance to it, nearest road (including street address if applicable) or road junctions, nearest river or creek]
  5. What birds were observed doing (e.g., one perched in a cottonwood while another circled overhead)
  6. Observer's name and contact information (phone number with area code and e-mail address)

To Report a Sighting:
E-mail Jennifer Coulson: Jacoulson@aol.com
Or call her: (504) 717-3544

Jennifer Coulson is studying the population ecology of the Swallow-tailed Kite. She is trying to determine: the geographic range of this species within Louisiana and Mississippi, the current population size, and factors that may limit the current population size. Aspects of her study include nest monitoring, a radio-telemetry based survivorship study, characterization of nesting and roosting habitat, and aerial surveys of premigration roosts.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Because of the interest generated by the recent unconfirmed ivory-billed woodpecker sighting on the Pearl River WMA, we are offering these tips to help observers distinguish the extremely rare ivory-bill from the similar, but fairly common, pileated woodpecker.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Pileated Woodpecker
Large white patch on back of bird perched Back of bird perched with wings folded is almost all black
Upper surface of wings in flight has large white area on trailing edge Upper surface of wings in flight is mostly black
Under surface of wings in flight has white area on leading edge and large white area on the trailing edge seperated by black down the middle of each wing Under surface of wings in flight has large white area on the leading edge only
Beak is off-white Beak is gray
Crest of female is all black Crest of female is mostly red
Bird flies straight Bird flies with an undulating pattern

Florida Panther ID Tips

The Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) is considered of historical occurrence in Louisiana. The historic range included eastern Texas or western Louisiana and the east lower Mississippi River Valley through the southeastern states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and parts of Tennessee and South Carolina). Even though numerous sighting reports continue to surface annually throughout its historic range, it is unlikely that viable populations of the Florida panther presently occur outside Florida. Each year the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP) receives calls reporting puma sightings, most of these reports remain unconfirmed because of the lack of evidence.

If you believe you saw a cougar, check for the following:

  • Tracks (below you will find drawings of tracks of cougars and other carnivore species that will help you to identify cougar's tracks). If possible, take a picture and/or make a cast of the track, and/or draw the track on a hard clear plastic with a permanent marker.
  • Scats (collect the scats and keep them in a clean plastic bag)
  • And remember that black panthers are not native to North America.

For more information on cougars, go to the Eastern Cougar Network website.

Rare Animal Species

Any questions, concerns, information requests concerning LA rare animals are welcomed and should be directed to:

Louisiana Natural Heritage Program
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
P.O. Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA 70898
(225) 765-2821

Rare Plant Species

Louisiana's Natural Heritage Program (LNHP), within the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, is the lead state program for the identification, ranking, and conservation of Louisiana's rare species and native natural communities. Since the LA Natural Heritage Program's inception in 1984, our staff botanists have compiled data for the list of rare plant species from various sources such as herbarium specimens, scientific literature, reports from expert and amateur botanists, and extensive surveys conducted by LNHP staff. While this database is quite extensive, there are still many natural areas in Louisiana that have not been surveyed. New plant records are continuously being added to the database, and current records are updated as new information becomes available. Over the past two decades, rare plant identification and mapping by LNHP has been instrumental in the creation of numerous conservation areas around Louisiana such as the Lake Ramsey and Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Areas, and the CC Road Savanna Preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, to name just a few.

Our listing of the Rare Plant Species of Louisiana, identifies those native plant species that are currently considered among Louisiana's rarest and most in need of conservation efforts. The purpose of this report is to provide the public with a listing of the rare plant species in Louisiana and their current rarity status, to solicit further information and input concerning these species, and to promote conservation of these species.

The list is arranged alphabetically by scientific name with associated common name. The state and global rarity ranks are listed in the third and fourth columns, respectively, with the fifth column containing wetland code. Explanations of these rankings and codes may be found following the listing of species. The sixth column provides a listing of parishes where each plant species is currently found, and the final column describes the natural community types for each species.

The LA Natural Heritage Program welcomes and encourages input concerning the rare species lists. If you would like to take an active part in protecting Louisiana's rare plant species, please contact us (225-765-2821) with any of the following information:

  1. Mapped location information for any rare plant populations. Please fill out our rare species reporting form and mail it to the address listed on the form, or call or send an e-mail message to our staff.
  2. Any data indicating that a species should be either added or removed from our listing.
  3. Documentation of existing habitat pressures that threaten populations of rare plants.
  4. Literature citations, references or other information on the biology and ecology of our state's rare plant species.
  5. Any other information that might be helpful in supporting the conservation, protection and/or management of LA's rare plant species and their habitats.

Any questions, concerns, information requests concerning LA rare plants are welcomed and should be directed to:

Louisiana Natural Heritage Program
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
P.O. Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA 70898
(225) 765-2821

Louisiana Natural Heritage Program

The Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP), within the LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), is part of the Natural Heritage Network. This network, originally developed by The Nature Conservancy and now coordinated by NatureServe, is designed to gather, organize and distribute standardized, detailed information on the biological diversity across all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, and also parts of Latin America.
The LNHP was founded in 1984 through a partnership with the state of Louisiana and The Nature Conservancy, and is now maintained by LDWF. LNHP was founded with the goal of developing and maintaining a database on rare, threatened and endangered (r/t/e) species of plants and animals and natural communities for Louisiana. In the process of working toward this goal, we have accumulated over 6,000 occurrences of r/t/e species, unique natural communities and other distinctive elements of natural diversity, and identified some 380 ecologically significant sites statewide. A detailed Element Occurrence Record (EOR), which includes precise locations, species population status, and habitat conditions and characteristics, is entered for each species occurrence in the LNHP Biological Conservation Database (BCD). Location for each element is mapped on USGS 7.5' topographic maps, and element locations may also be downloaded from the BCD and mapped in a Geographic Information System (GIS) format. Information for element occurrence records is generally gathered from LNHP staff field surveys, but is also obtained from survey contracts, state and federal government agencies, research studies, university contacts, herbaria, and Louisiana nature enthusiasts. While LNHP has created an extensive database documenting Louisiana's native biological diversity, there are many natural areas in the state that have not yet been surveyed. Records for new occurrences are continuously being added to the database, and current records are updated as new information becomes available. LNHP data is applied to land use decisions, environmental impact assessment, resource management, conservation planning, endangered species review, research and education.
LNHP's work has also expanded beyond inventory, to include research on threatened and endangered species, and involvement in diverse conservation issues concerning nongame wildlife species and plants. The job is not complete, and because habitats change, the nature of the task is dynamic.


Project WILD

Check this site for upcoming workshops throughout the state.

Project WILD's primary audience is teachers of kindergarten through high school students. This does not limit the usefulness of the project to formal educational settings, however. Volunteers working with young people in pre-school and after-school programs; representatives of private conservation, industry and other community groups who are interested in providing instructional programs for young people or their teachers; and personnel involved in preparation of future teachers are all among those who effectively use the instructional resources of this program.

The goal of Project WILD (Wildlife In Learning Design) is to assist learners of any age in developing awareness, knowledge, skills, and commitment to result in informed decisions, responsible behavior, and constructive actions concerning wildlife and the environment upon which all life depends.

Project WILD:
is an award-winning interdisciplinary, conservation and environmental education program that emphasizes wildlife. The L-12 guide is full of various activities that empower participants to learn about wildlife and make conservation decisions.

How do you get WILD?
Project WILD activity guides are distributed free of charge to teachers who participate in a Project WILD workshop. During a six-hour workshop, teachers and youth leaders gain the skills and knowledge necessary to incorporate Project WILD into the classroom or nature area.

Workshop participants will:
participate in hands-on activities, indoors and out.
learn more about Louisiana wildlife and the environment.
expand their knowledge and teaching skills.
find out how WILD can enliven their curricula.
share ideas, information, and resources with other teachers.

Aquatic Project WILD
Activity Guides and workshops emphasize aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecosystems. The activity guides are distributed free of charge to teachers who participate in a follow-up three to six hour workshop.

For more information on Project WILD contact:
Kathleen Nichols - Assistant Coordinator
Environmental Education Division
(337) 340-2999

Workshop Scholarships

Liz Barthel Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Christine L. Thomas, founder of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program, announces a scholarship endowment: the Liz Barthel Memorial Scholarship. Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Inc. has set an endowment fund to start things off. Interest from the endowment fund will provide a scholarship to each Louisiana BOW workshop. The BOW Coordinators raffle items each year at the coordinaotrs conference to raise additional funds so women in other states can benefit. I Contributions can be sent to BOW Inc, Barthel Fund, P.O. Box 1026, Stevens Point, WI 54481.

Low-income women who have children under age 18 will be eligible to receive the Liz Barthel Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship pays $125 of the $170 registration fee. The scholarship recipeint will be responsbile for a $45 fee. We hope Liz will live through other outdoor women in this way.
To apply for the Liz Barthel Memorial Scholarship:

  •  You may nominate an individual by submitting the following information or
  • You may submit the information about yourself

Please send a completed one page essay by with the following information. (Please include your name, phone number, address, amount of yearly income and ages of children.) Essays are being taken now.

  • Why I would like to attend a B.O.W. workshop.
  • What benefits I hope to achieve from the workshop.
  • I plan to pursue and develop my outdoor experiences through . . . .

Send completed essay to:
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Liz Barthel Memorial Scholarship
ATTN: Bill Breed
368 CenturyTel Drive
Monroe, LA 71203

application/pdf icon Wildlife Insider Winter 2010

Nuisance Wildlife


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries does NOT provide nuisance animal control or removal services. We do permit individuals (Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators) to provide these services for a fee.  The Department maintains a list of over 100 nuisance animal trappers located across the state at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/nwco  Contact the nuisance trapper closest to you for assistance with problem wildlife.

NWCO's are permitted to handle most species except deer, bears, migratory birds, and alligators. In many situations, however, calling in a professional is not entirely necessary. The following are steps an individual can take for getting rid of nuisance wildlife:

1. Make sure food for wildlife is not available around your home.
     A) NEVER feed wild animals.
     B) Make sure no pet food is left out at night.
     C) Secure trash can lids and compost heaps.
     D) Do not leave domestic animals that may be potential prey items loose or in shoddy or weak shelters.

2. Eliminate areas that can possibly be used by wildlife as shelter.
     A) Seal any holes that may give wildlife access to your attic or the interior of your home. Some species of bats can fit through holes the size of a dime, so keeping your home well maintained is imperative for keeping nuisance animals out.
     B) Skirting installed under mobile homes can prevent animals from gaining access underneath. Chicken wire or lattice can be used under raised houses.
     C) Keep grass mowed to eliminate cover for wildlife.
     D) Eliminate piles of wood or debris that can be used as shelter.

3. Live trap the animal and release it.
     A) Title 76 outlines the rules for live trapping and releasing wildlife without a permit.
     B) *WARNING* It can be dangerous to handle trapped animals.
It is often easier to get an animal into a trap than to get one out. Heavy leather gloves should be worn and extreme caution must be used when releasing animals. Always stand behind the trap and point the open end towards a clear area when releasing, giving the animal a clear path out and away.
     C) Should a bite occur, DO NOT RELEASE THE ANIMAL if it hasn't already been released. Regardless of the animal species, contact your state public health veterinarian for instructions on having the animal tested for rabies and contact your doctor. If a bite occurs, and the animal has been released and cannot be immediately re-captured, contact your doctor and the state public health veterinarian. Animals that appear healthy may be sick. Certain mammal species including but not limited to bats and skunks may be infected with the rabies virus and transmit it to humans. The rabies virus is fatal to humans if not treated before symptoms develop.

     D) Trapped animals should be released a minimum of five miles from the trap site to prevent their return.

     E) Trapping in the spring and early summer should be avoided. These are the breeding seasons for most wildlife, and removing adult animals may result in young animals being orphaned. If these young are in an attic or under a house etc., it can result in them dying thereby causing a new problem as they decay.

     F) LDWF does not loan or rent traps. Traps are available from some parish animal control offices. Traps may be purchased at hardware stores and lawn and garden centers.

In cases where a bird or mammal has been injured and is in need of assistance, concerned citizens should contact a certified wildlife rehabilitator listed at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/rehab . Wildlife rehabilitators have the training, skills, and facilities necessary to care for most injured animals, and are permitted by LDWF to rehabilitate injured wildlife in Louisiana.

Possessing wild animals without a permit is against state law. Furthermore, certatin species, such as migratory birds, are afforded additional protection under federal law.

There are two levels of rehabilitation permits, these include:

State permitted rehabilitators who may legally possess small mammal species and a few species of birds. These bird species include pigeons, starlings, house sparrows and domestic duck species. These species are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-10b.pdf), therefore state permitted wildlife rehabilitators may legally house only these bird species.

Federally permitted rehabilitators may legally possess small mammal species as well as most birds listed in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act:

Should a rehabilitator not be available, the animals should be left in their natural habitat. Though this may sound like a cruel alternative, it is a natural process that helps regulate wildlife population levels.

Each year, well-intentioned people attempt to rescue small animals they thought were abandoned. However, many animals are taken from a completely normal situation. The mother of the small animal may be attempting to teach her offspring how to forage, walk or fly.

While it may appear that the small animal is left alone, a mother's watchful eye may not be far away. Adult animals frequently leave their young to forage for food, but rarely abandon them.

Wildlife parents attempt to conceal their young from humans and other animals. When humans handle or move young wildlife, it increases the chances that the parent may abandon the young or may not be able to find them. The best advice would be to leave young animals alone trying not to disturb them and let the parents care for them.

DO NOT CALL A WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR DIRECTLY FOR ANY SITUATION REGARDING A FAWN OR DEER. Rehabilitators are not permitted to take any deer/fawns without prior LDWF approval. ALL CALLS REGARDING DEER/FAWNS MUST BE HANDLED THROUGH YOUR LOCAL REGIONAL OFFICE. Louisiana deer typically fawn any time between the months of March through September, dependent upon the area of the state you live in. During the first few weeks of a fawn's life, it is most vulnerable to predators such as coyotes, black bears, bobcats, and feral dogs.  Fawns have very little scent, and their reddish to light brown coats dappled with white spots are perfect camouflage while lying in herbaceous or woody cover.  To avoid these predators, does select locations for their fawns to hide and to remain still.   Does will often leave the fawns alone, while walking off some distance to browse or observe the fawn's location.  This is another predator avoidance maneuver.  

It is very easy for people that are out hiking or working in deer habitat, to walk up on fawns lying still in the woods or old fields.  Every year Louisiana citizens call LDWF with reports of lost fawns, and often have "rescued" the fawn and brought it home.  Though well meaning, it is the wrong thing to do, and in fact is illegal.  Wild white-tailed deer may not be captured, including fawns.  If you find a fawn, back away from it and leave it alone.  The unseen doe likely is watching you, or will soon be back to nurse and check on the fawn.

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