This Feb. 3, 2014 remote camera photo provided by the National Park Service shows mountain lion P-23 approaching a kill in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Southern California mountain lion was part of a study by federal biologists has been found dead. The National Park Service says remains of the 5½-year-old female lion known as P-23 were recovered this week near Malibu Canyon Road and she appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. (National Park Service via AP)

‘ALWAYS A CHANCE’: Feds declare eastern cougar extinct in Pennsylvania

Despite yearly reports of cougar sightings in Pennsylvania, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it is removing the mountain lion subspecies native to the region from its list of threatened and endangered animals because of a long known technicality — it’s extinct. ...

DAVID BROWN/Special to the Sun-Gazette

An American 
tree sparrow 
perches on a 
dried stalk on 
Dec. 26, 2017,
at Lime Bluff Recreation Area
in Hughesville.

Sparrow species may be present for bird count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend. Amateur bird watchers can submit their bird sightings to this citizen science project. Simply count birds in your own yard for a minimum of 15 minutes and submit the details through the website. Full details on how to participate can be found at ...


Winter Outings series continues Step Outdoors Winter Outings in Tioga and Potter counties include the following events: • Mountain or snow bike ride today and Feb. 25. Oswald Cycle Works is sponsoring the free Mountain and Snow Bike Riding Series. Meet at 9 a.m. at the USGS Northern ...

Canyon Sled Dog Challenge on track for next weekend

ANSONIA — Sled dogs and their mushers will hit the trail — the Pine Creek Rail Trail — on Saturday for the first Canyon Sled Dog Challenge, an out-and-back 18-mile run from Ansonia to Tiadaghton. Pro and registered breed teams of six and eight dogs each will pull sleds to test their ...

Sportsmen prepare for annual banquet

HUGHESVILLE — The Consolidated Sportsmen of Muncy Creeks will hold its 58th annual banquet on March 24 at the Hughesville Fire Hall Social Center. Doors will open at 5 p.m., with a buffet dinner at 6. The evening will open with a roast beef dinner with homemade pie, a gun and rod raffle, a ...

Reflections in Nature: Mama’s voice

Our granddaughter, Eve, is going to have a baby in early March. She and her husband are so excited about having a baby and becoming parents. For several months, Eve has been talking, reading and singing to her unborn child. Recently, I read in a book titled “Intelligence in Animals” ...

Signs posted by the state Fish and Boat Commission warn visitors that the Muncy access area to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is closed.

Barred access to river draws ire of firefighters, boaters

MUNCY — The former Muncy access area to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, off of Railroad Street, remains closed to boaters — and there are no plans to reopen it. That’s the official word from the state Fish and Boat Commission, which closed the site in July 2016 after a ...

DAVID BROWN/Special to the Sun-Gazette
An American black duck lands on the ice at Montoursville’s Indian Park pond on Jan. 14. The bird to the left is a female mallard.

American black duck resembles mallard species

The American black duck, Anas rubripes, is a dabbling duck of eastern North America. Black ducks are similar to female mallards but are a darker shade of brown. The are the same size as mallards with a length of 23 inches and a 35-inch wingspan. Males and females are similar but adult ...

Game commissioners will discuss 2018-19 hunting, trapping seasons

HARRISBURG — The state Board of Game Commissioners will hold its first quarterly meeting of 2018, from Jan. 28-30 at its 2001 Elmerton Ave. headquarters. Beginning at 1 p.m. next Sunday, the commissioners will hear public recommendations for 2018-19 hunting and furtaking seasons and bag ...

DAVID BROWN/Special to the Sun-Gazette
David Brown snapped this photo of an adult broad-winged hawk at the Ashland Hawk Watch in Hockessin, Delaware, on Sept. 23.

Local lives life of a professional hawk watcher

“There is a red-tailed hawk half a glass above the notch and an American kestrel circling over the right saddle!” For three months last fall, I was the hawk watch counter at the Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin, Delaware. My task was to stand on a hill and count migrating raptors for ...


Public invited to annual Watersheds Summit The Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host its annual Watersheds Summit at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Covenant Central Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 807 W. Fourth St. It is open to the public. Many of the area’s watershed groups, ...

DON DAUGHENBAUGH/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
John Wilbreght displays a 15-pound steelhead, caught as it made its way 1,500 miles to spawn.

Afield with Friends: Time to catch big fish

Fifty years ago after I dressed out a 10-point buck and attached a tag to a long-beard gobbler during the first hours of the fall season, I realized it was time to make some adjustments in my outdoor activities. The 9-foot Sage rod on the wall of my cluttered den seemed to remind me the ...

Reflections in Nature: Turpentine distilled from pine pitch

During my adolescent years, my mother often would tell me to take off my good jeans before I ruined them. While setting up our Christmas tree recently, I was taken back to those youthful days when my wife, Mary Alice, said, “Bill, take off those good jeans before you get pine pitch on ...

Rich Day, of Montoursville, began the Day family's trifecta during the fall deer season this year. “We’re just truly blessed,” said Rich, who used a crossbow to shoot his eight-point.

‘A very unexpected season’: Grandfather, son, grandson all harvest bucks

Rich Day estimates he’s been hunting for nearly 54 years, but this year he and his family had “a very unexpected season.” On Oct. 26, during archery season, Rich, 66, harvested an eight-point white-tailed buck whose antlers had a spread measuring nearly 18 inches. Then, during ...

Step Outdoors events begin this Monday

WELLSBORO — The 2018 Step Outdoors Winter Outings series has been expanded to include more events in Potter County, according to organizer Tim Morey, a natural resource specialist with the Hills Creek State Park Complex. “This is our largest Winter Outing series yet with more than 25 ...

The pileated woodpecker is one of the largest and most striking birds in the forest.

Reflections in Nature: Bird’s name means tree cleaver

Several weeks ago while driving up the Armenia Mountain road, near Gobbler’s Knob, I saw a big bird fly across the road and land on a tree. Before getting close enough to identify the bird, I knew it was a pileated woodpecker due to its unusual flight. A woodpecker’s flight undulates, ...

MIMI MYLIN/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
Shown above is a collection of items that drivers should keep in their vehicles in case they need something in a pinch.

Experts advise drivers prepare vehicles for winter months

Early winter is one of the best times to give automobiles a good health checkup to be sure they will run reliably and safely over the next several months. Preventative maintenance helps drivers avoid breaking down when the weather is at its most severe and minimizes the likelihood of an ...

A pileated woodpecker searches for insects.

Why count birds?

It’s pitch black inside and out when the alarm softly chimes Saturday morning. I quietly slip out to the den, into my long-johns and other warm clothes and gather up Dusky dog for his earlier-than-normal walk around the neighborhood pond. It’s 17 degrees, starless, but thankfully not ...

BILL BOWER/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
The Christmas tree often is called Christ’s tree.

Reflections in Nature: Christmas customs

The custom of using evergreens to help celebrate goes back almost 2,000 years. In pre-Christian days, it was believed evergreens contained magical powers because the trees remained green throughout the year. Evergreens first were used in celebrating the winter solstice, which is the ...