Category Archives: Wildlife

Red Spotted Newt – Notophthalmus viridescens

General: The Red-spotted newt is one of the most common newts in the United States. The Red-Spotted Newt gets its name from the many red spots that occur on its dorsal surface against the background color of brown to olive green in adults. The red spotted newt undergoes two metamorphoses. The first is the usual transformation from aquatic, gilled larva to an air-breathing terrestrial sexually immature land phase called an Eft. Sometimes the eft stage is skipped completely and they go directly from the larval to the adult aquatic stage. The second metamorphosis is to a breeding aquatic adult Newts.

All newts have toxic skin secretions.

Average Size: Efts usually reach only about 3 inches. Adults reach lengths of nearly 5 inches

Life Span: The Eft stage may last anywhere from 1-7 years. Adult stage can last as long

Diet: Red efts eat waxworms, flies, small insects and invertebrates. They will also eat very small earthworms. Brine shrimp and ghost shrimp are common prey items. Bloodworms, whiteworms and small fish are also potential food items.

Breeding: Mating begins in the spring or the autumn, in shallow pools and ponds. The males grab the females from above, either around the chest or the neck, and will hover above them for what could be up to a few hours, then will suddenly drop a spermatophore and leave a moment later. The females lay their eggs in spring, and the clutch count is somewhere around 250 eggs. The larvae only need three or four weeks to hatch, and then normally metamorphose some 12 to 13 weeks

Larvae: The larvae are carnivorous from the time they have absorbed their yolk, a few days after hatching. From then on they eat live food. They will eat any insect, worm, etc they can over power.

Habitat: Eastern Newts are at home in both coniferous and deciduous forests. They need a moist environment with either a temporary or permanent body of water, and thrive best in a muddy environment. During the eft stage, they may travel far from their original location. Red efts may often be seen in a forest after a rainstorm. Adults prefer a muddy aquatic habitat, but will move to land during a dry spell.

Territory: As can be seen in the territory map, the red-spotted newt ranges almost the entire east of the United States, Maine to Georgia and all the way to the Mid-west (Mississippi areas).

Black-capped chickadee – Poecile atricapilla

Black-capped chickadee


The black-capped chickadee is a familiar visitor to bird feeders in New York. When considering their small size, they seem almost fearless. Many a time I have had a chickadee land right next to me while filling the feeder. I During the fall migration and winter, chickadees often flock together.have been lucky enough to have them eat from my hand.

Black-capped chickadeeThe Black-capped Chickadee is very similar to the Carolina Chickadee and where their ranges overlap they can be difficult to separate. In fact, they have trouble telling themselves apart and hybrids occur. The most obvious difference between them is their songs. Black-capped sings a two note song while Carolina sings a four note song. Hybrids sing a three note song. They are the state bird of Maine and Massachusetts.

Identification tips:

The black-capped chickadee is approximately 4.5 inches long and has a short bill. It has a black crown and throat with a white face, pale gray upperparts and white edges to wing coverts. Their body has grayish-white underparts and rusty flanks. The sexes similar. They are often found in small flocks


Their breeding habitat is mixeBlack-capped chickadee ranged or deciduous woods in Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. They nest in a hole in a tree; the pair excavates the nest, using a natural cavity or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They are permanent residents, but sometimes move south within their range in winter.


Insects form a large part of their diet, especially in summer; seeds and berries become important in winter. They sometimes hammer seeds on a tree or shrub to open them

Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter