New York poised to outlaw wildlife killing contests 

Kudos to the NY State Assembly for approving a bill that bans wildlife killing contests in which participants compete in private events—often for cash and prizes awarded to those who kill the most, the heaviest or the largest animals. The bill also passed the Senate.  

Thousands of animals are killed annually in the unregulated contests, including squirrels, woodchucks, crows, rabbits, bobcats, foxes and coyotes. 

“These killing contests celebrate senseless brutality, and serve absolutely no scientifically backed ecological or conservation purpose,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat and sponsor of the bill.  

We couldn’t agree more and are bolstered by the fact that eight other states have also outlawed killing contests for various species. 

California became the first state to outlaw all killing contests in 2014, with a full prohibition on wildlife-killing contests covering non-game mammals and furbearers (including coyotes). In 2018, Vermont outlawed coyote-killing contests. New Mexico enacted a ban on coyote-killing contests and Arizona and Massachusetts adopted regulations banning killing contests for certain animals, including coyotes, foxes, and bobcats in 2019. Also in 2019, Maryland banned cownose ray killing contests. In 2020, Washington and Colorado adopted regulations banning killing contests for coyotes and foxes, as well as other small mammals. 

Gov. Lamont delivers win for birds in Connecticut  

In June, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation approved by the General Assembly to protect birds from nocturnal night pollution. The “Lights Out” law requires all state-owned buildings in Connecticut to turn off nonessential outdoor lights after 11 p.m. 

The bill also directs the Connecticut Code and Standards committee to consider changes to lighting requirements in the state building code. 

A 2019 peer-reviewed study in the journal Science demonstrated that over the past 50 years, the North American bird population has fallen by about 30 percent, or 3 billion birds. It is estimated that window strikes kill as many as one billion birds each year. A key recommendation to reduce the number of birds who die annually is to decrease window strikes.  

Proper nighttime lighting during the migration season has been shown to be effective at reducing mortality. Other states (New York in 2015 and Illinois in 2022, for example) have already enacted similar Lights Out laws for their state buildings. Turning off the lights from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. has reduced the number of bird collisions at monitored buildings by 80%. 

During the peak of bird migration in April and May millions of birds cross Long Island Sound every evening. Some come from the Southeast, following the coast. Others fly from as far away as the Argentinian plains.  

On May 15, 2023, more than 900,000 birds entered the state between 8-9 p.m., according to the BirdCast tracking network. 

Residents rally to save sycamore tree 

A beloved sycamore tree that was on the chopping block in Canton, Conn., is going to be spared thanks to a public outcry from residents who wanted to save it. 

The tree, which is located at an intersection, sparked controversy in April when it was set to be chopped down after some residents cited driver safety concerns. Residents argued the tree could have contributed to five car crashes between 2011 and 2018. 

Officials decided an upcoming paving project will help give drivers more room to see around the tree.  

We love that this town also recognizes the public safety issue of the climate crisis and the negative environmental impact of cutting down healthy legacy trees. They store carbon, provide oxygen and habitat for wildlife and plants, give shade and prevent erosion.  

“It’s a symbol of how much we care about nature,” said Katie Kenney, of Canton. “It’s also a symbol of our quirkiness. We’re not the same as everyone else. We would preserve a tree in the middle of the road.”