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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
It’s that time of year when medical experts recommend we all get flu shots to minimize the chance of influenza causing us to get really sick or, in extreme cases, even die. Believe it or not, wildlife can get the flu, too.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A great deal of my time with the Mississippi State University Extension Service has been spent raising public awareness about wild pig problems, and I have encountered quite a few myths and half-truths about these often destructive pests.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Deer Lab, MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are taking deer management into the 21st century.
We are very excited about three mobile technologies that are available for hunters and deer managers this fall. These phone apps were designed to help you with some of the most important deer management activities: aging deer, planning food plots and keeping records of deer data.
JACKSON, Miss. -- The sound of Canada geese calling overhead from their V-formation used to be the telltale sign that autumn had arrived. These days, residents of the Eastern U.S., including Mississippi, can hear this sound nearly year-round.
In many urban areas, geese commonly greet people taking a morning stroll or walking into work. Others, like myself, have been aggressively escorted off the 18th hole at the local golf course by adult geese protecting their young. Simply put, there are two types of people: those who love geese and those who do not.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi summers bring unbearable heat and humidity, but they also bring many treasures, like longer days, more vacation time and hummingbirds.
Many Mississippi residents can’t wait to fill up their feeders with a sugary concoction and wait for the buzzing of those amazing little wings. These tiny birds migrate south before cold weather arrives in the fall. Hummingbirds winter in Central and South America, and they return to Mississippi in early spring.
By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
MSU Extension Service
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The thrill of the chase and the urge to be a steward of wild things and wild places are vital to many hunters. I am one of the 19.3 million hunters in the United States who appreciate and enjoy fair-chase hunting, and it has enriched my life for more than 60 years.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- To keep the population of the official state reptile in check, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will allow alligator hunting for the 10th year.
Protection and recovery efforts through effective management and education have allowed alligator populations to rebound, which prompted the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to approve the first alligator hunting season in 2005.