The Project

 Bobcats, coyotes, fishers, foxes, and black bears live here in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.  However, not much is known about where they live and how many there are.
The Mianus River Gorge, Teatown and Westmoreland Sanctuary have joined forces in the Wild Suburbia Project to study five species over the next two years in our area, but we need your help!  Local residents are an important source of information about local wildlife and nature.  Our scientists would like to enlist your participation to provide information about where and when you have seen these animals.

What Do Project Participants Do?
Citizen scientists record sightings of any bobcats, coyotes, fishers, foxes and/or black bears they observe during our two-year study period.  Participants post the time, date, location, markings and anything unusual that they observe on our project website by clicking on the Survey tab above. More information on the project and the animals we are studying can be found below and in the tabs above.

>>>>> Our online survey is up and running here <<<<<

 

Quick Guide to Animal Identification
Bobcats are large, grey and black cats with short tails.  They can be discriminated from house cats due to their larger size, short tail with a black tip, and distinctive "mutton chops" or a "ruff" on their cheeks.  In our area, bobcats can also have some spots on their legs and haunches but rarely not all over their bodies.

Bobcats are very shy and not dangerous to people



Coyotes are usually as large as a medium-sized dog (up to ~2' tall at the shoulders).  They can appear quite large in the winter when they have more fur and may look quite skinny in the spring and summer.  They can be differentiated from similar-looking dogs by their straight, bushy tails; mixed grey, brown, and black coloring; and long thin snouts.  Coyotes are generally not dangerous but have been know to attack unsupervised pets and, in rare cases, threaten people if they have become habituated to human presence or are rabid.

Do not feed coyotes or leave food out intended for other animals!

Fishers are medium-sized members of the weasel family.  They are 30-47" long and can weigh from 4 to 13 pounds.  They are agile climbers but spend most of their time on the forest floor.  They are omnivorous and feed on a wide variety of small animals, but at times will include some fruits and mushrooms in their diet.


Red fox are smaller (14-20" tall at the shoulders) than coyotes and most dogs.  They have proportionally shorter legs than the larger dog species.  Their coats tend to be orange-red to orange.  They have black "boots" on their feet and usually a white tip on the tail.  They eat small prey such as mice and chipmunks and generally are not dangerous to people.

Red fox are much smaller than coyotes with a white tip on the tail


Black bears are very rare in our area but are seen occasionally.  They are very large (males just before hibernating can be 600lbs.) and completely black with varying amounts of brown around the muzzle.  You may confuse a bear with a large black dog if seen from a distance, but generally they are unmistakeable.


Never feed bears or leave food, garbage, or other potential food sources outside!


About the Survey Team
Westmoreland Sanctuary,  Mianus River Gorge and Teatown are excited to join forces on this exciting citizen science study.

The Mianus River Gorge, located in Bedford, NY works to protect and promote appreciation of the natural heritage of the Mianus River watershed through land acquisition, conservation science, research, and education throughout the region.

Westmoreland Sanctuary is a non-profit nature center and 640-acre wildlife preserve located in the Towns of Bedford and North Castle, NY.  Established in 1957, the Sanctuary works to promote nature appreciation, preservation, and conservation for the present and future benefit and enjoyment of the public.