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Extension Outdoors from 2015

Opossums that live near people may visit vegetable gardens, compost piles, pet food dishes or garbage cans such as this one. (Photo by MSU Extension/Evan O’Donnell)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Often found scavenging in trash cans or seen lying dead on roadsides after car collisions, opossums are not the most revered or understood wildlife creatures in Mississippi.

The migration of ducks, such as this blue-winged teal, from the Mississippi Delta to the Prairie Pothole region of the northern Great Plains each year is an example of a circannual rhythm. (File photo/MSU Extension)
October 30, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Ray Iglay, Certified Wildlife Biologist
MSU Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Aquaculture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As creatures of habit, our lives follow patterns.

We go to sleep at night, wake in the morning, get ready for work and run out the door. Throughout the year, school and work schedules, and even holiday seasons, structure our annual cycles of activities. Across decades, we may even mark life achievements, such as starting to crawl as an infant or achieving retirement.

November 6, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

While dressing a deer this fall, there are some common parasites you may encounter. None of these parasites actually affects the quality of the deer meat, but it is important to recognize what they are.

Louse flies…

Have you ever noticed little wingless critters crawling around on a deer’s belly? Those are louse flies -- also called deer keds. The adult flies shed their wings and become flightless. While at first glance louse flies resemble small ticks, they only have six legs.

Turtles pose no major threat to fish populations in ponds. In fact, they have a beneficial effect on water quality by scavenging for dead animals and plants. (Photo by Evan O’Donnell/MSU Extension)
November 13, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It happens to me at least five times each year. The phone rings, and on the line is a pond owner ready to rid his pond of “those pesky turtles.”

Often, the person is concerned that turtles are eating his fish. Sometimes the turtles are eating the pond owner’s fish food. Other times, the caller has caught a turtle while catfishing and does not like dealing with the angry reptile on the end of his line. For one reason or another, turtles have a bad reputation in Mississippi ponds. Well, it is time to set the record straight on turtles!

Some landowners view beavers as costly nuisances because their dams can flood agricultural fields and forests. However, these ecosystem engineers create ponds that are ultimately beneficial to the overall ecology of an area, including wildlife populations. (Submitted photo)
November 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For an unassuming rodent, the beaver has quite a significant place in American history.

For more than 300 years, the beaver was one of the most valuable fur-bearing animals in North America and drove the fur trade, one of the earliest and most important industries in the development of the United States and Canada.

Large groups of cormorants typically roost at night in clusters of trees, such as these, and spend their days fishing in natural lakes, rivers and catfish ponds, to the dismay of Mississippi’s catfish producers. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
November 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss -- It’s a duck, it’s a goose...no, it’s a Cormorant?

The double-crested cormorant is a 4- to 6-pound bird with black or dark plumage. Often cormorants are mistaken for common waterfowl because they are seen swimming on ponds and lakes throughout Mississippi from late fall to early spring. Cormorants migrate each year from the Great Lakes region of the U.S. and Canada to spend their winters on the warm waters of the South. They really are snow birds!

Representatives of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are the best contacts when someone discovers a sick or injured wild animal. Their goal is to treat and re-release wild animals, as Chad Dacus, wildlife bureau director, is shown doing for this rehabilitated bald eagle at the Barnett Reservoir near Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Brian Broom)
December 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wild animals are amazing for many reasons. Whether it’s flying high in the sky, singing beautiful songs or simply displaying the amazing colors and patterns of their feathers or fur, wild creatures attract people. So, when we come upon an injured or sick animal, in most cases, we want to help it any way possible.

December 11, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- So, you have finally worked up the nerve to ask that landowner for permission to hunt his property for the upcoming hunting season, and he said yes.

The English language is filled with idioms about wildlife, including “birds of a feather flock together,” the way these wild turkeys have gathered in a field. (Submitted photo)
December 18, 2015 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Birds of a feather . . .” Can you finish this sentence?

If you answered, “birds of a feather flock together,” you would be right. Wild animals are part of American culture, found in our literature, art and sports team names. Even for those who do not hunt, fish or live in wild places, wildlife may be a part of their lives.

Mississippi is home to several species of cicadas, including this annual cicada. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
December 21, 2015 - Filed Under: Insects-Forage Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While many humans anticipate making certain changes with the arrival of a new year, certain insects have much different life cycles.

Periodical cicadas may anticipate emerging from the ground in 2016, while others may simply have to wait a few more years to see the light of day.

Cicadas are curious creatures. From beady eyes on the sides of their heads to prominent veins stretching across their glassy wings, they seem to be created from the Twilight Zone. Yet, they produce one the most common sounds of summer.

Migration is one of the ways wild creatures, such as these Canada geese, adapt to the onset of colder weather. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
December 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter months bring short days of weak sunlight, cold nights and icy rain. Even though Southern states have relatively mild winters, the more extreme weather conditions make life more difficult.

We humans hide indoors in furnace-warmed air, put on layers of clothing to combat the chill and use insulated coats, hats and gloves when forced to go outside. But what about the creatures that live outdoors? How do they survive until spring’s warm breezes and sunshine once again return?

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