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News Filed Under Wildlife

A large alligator rests on the shoreline beside water on a sunny day.
September 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Thanks to the careful management and conservation efforts of Mississippi’s state and federal wildlife biologists, alligator populations across the state are thriving.

In fact, Ricky Flynt, alligator coordinator with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said he considers the healthy alligator populations a conservation success story. From the early 1900s through the 1960s, alligators were not protected and were nearly eliminated, he explained. Now, their numbers are high enough to allow limited recreational hunting. 

September 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Water Quality, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG, White-Tailed Deer

Wild hogs cost Mississippians millions of dollars each year, but landowners stand to lose more than money if the nuisance animals’ range and population continue to grow. 

Left unchecked, wild hogs have the potential to steal property owners’ investments and cripple the state’s ecosystem in the process. 

a nest built by mice using insulation and a variety of other materials
September 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

Now is the time of year when many of us notice the pitter-patter of small feet in our attics or walls.

Complaints of mice in and around homes are common in the fall. The house mouse is one of the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. House mice damage structures and contaminate food sources meant for humans, pets, livestock and other animals.

During the fall, both the house mouse, which spends most of its life in human dwellings, and the deer mouse, which spends warm seasons outside, are searching for food and warm shelter to nest and breed during the winter.

Healthy mourning dove populations allow opportunities for recreational hunting. Habitat establishments begin in the spring by planting small fields with a variety of grains such as sorghum, browntop millet and sunflowers. (Submitted photo)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mourning doves are popular game birds and songbirds in North America. Common in urban and suburban environments, they often are seen perched on utility wires or feeding in fallow grain fields or on the ground under bird feeders.

Mourning doves have a plump body, small head, buffy feathers with scattered black wing spots, long tail feathers, and short, pink legs. It is smaller and less colorful than its pigeon cousins that are often seen around city parks, bridges and silos.

Indoor classroom lessons about vertebrates are part of this Master Naturalist course in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Adam Rohnke)
August 11, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Funding and manpower are cited as the most common limiting factors in conducting research, especially for wildlife and fisheries studies, which can cover huge areas, involve secretive animals and collect large quantities of information.

Wild pigs have been part of the landscape in the Southeast since Hernando de Soto released them in the 1500s as a source of food for settlers. In the last 20 years, the nuisance animals have increased their range and population in Mississippi, threatening native wildlife and causing millions of dollars in damage to crops, land, timber, structures and farm equipment each year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Steven Tucker)
July 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Forestry, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Wild pigs have roamed parts of the Southeast since Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto introduced them as food for early settlers in the 16th century. But during the last two decades, Mississippi has experienced a rapid uptick in the spread of the nuisance animal.

July 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Fisheries, Forestry, Invasive Plants, Marine Resources, Water, Wildlife

BILOXI, Miss. -- Individuals interested in learning more about conservation of Mississippi's natural resources can attend the Coastal Mississippi Master Naturalist class.

The seven-week course begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, located at 1815 Popp's Ferry Road in Biloxi. Classes meet once a week at various locations through Oct. 17. Weekday classes meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Weekend classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Retreating into its shell will not protect this box turtle from most road dangers. If conditions are safe, render aid by moving or encouraging snakes and turtles off roads in the directions they are already headed. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the temperature rising daily, it is getting more common to spot turtles and snakes basking on the roads. Being aware of this change in reptile behavior can help drivers avoid hitting them.

This is an example of trash found recently at a popular fishing area on the Pearl River. (Submitted photo/Abby Braman)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Microplastics, very small plastic particles, in the natural environment have been in the news a lot lately, but there are many steps we can take to reduce this problem.

These tiny, sometimes microscopic, particles come from larger pieces of plastic and fibers from breathable clothing. They have been the focus of much recent media coverage and are the subject of ongoing research, including efforts at Mississippi State University.

Armadillos dig up gardens in search of insects to eat but do not typically consume garden plants. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether summer gardens are for beauty or food, this time of year is sure to bring wildlife into close contact with people's property.

Many gardens provide healthy and nutritious food for local critters such as armadillos, raccoons, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbits and a wide variety of insects. Gardens are usually easy for wildlife to access and offer an inviting buffet with such easy pickings concentrated in one area. All that time and labor you spent during the spring should not be tossed out due to these garden pests.

Young people enjoy canoe excursions on Bluff Lake in the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
June 2, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As a child, some of my favorite times were spent outdoors. Sadly, spending time outside is no longer the norm for many people.

During late spring and early summer, spectators and photographers should limit stress for nesting birds, such as this Canada goose near a pond in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, on May 7, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Late spring and early summer is the time when wild animals are raising their young, but it also the time when people gear up for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, playing baseball, riding all-terrain vehicles and visiting beaches.

We are fortunate to have ample green space in our state, but with this great resource comes the responsibility of respecting wildlife that use these spaces to raise young. The phrase "respect the nest" is an easy way to remember this responsibility.

This Wyoming deer suffers from chronic wasting disease, a highly contagious illness that is now present in 23 states. Although the disease is undocumented in Mississippi, it poses a real, potential threat to the state’s deer herd. (Photo Credit: Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the CWD Alliance)
May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Diseases are a big concern for deer biologists and managers.

Since the reestablishment of white-tailed deer across the Southeast, hemorrhagic disease has had a negative impact on their populations. Hemorrhagic disease in deer can be caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses, or bluetongue viruses, and is spread by black gnats.

Deer University podcast launches May 11 and will be available to listeners free of charge.
May 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will soon offer a weekly podcast that will be of interest to deer hunters and wildlife professionals in the Southeast.

Deer University launches May 11 and will be available to listeners free of charge on iTunes and at http://extension.msstate.edu/deeruniversity. Registration is the only prerequisite needed to listen and subscribe to the podcast.

Grey rat snakes, such as this one, are commonly seen here in Mississippi. They are not venomous and generally would prefer to be left alone. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
May 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- No other creatures provoke as many conflicting feelings as snakes do. We are attracted and repelled, and we are intrigued by them and ready to kill them, all at the same time. These feelings date back to antiquity.

A stray fawn may look vulnerable and alone, but the mother is usually nearby keeping a watchful eye on her offspring. (Stock photo)
April 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring is a glorious time of year. Flowers and leaves are not the only signs of new life. Plenty of food and warmer weather make this the perfect time for wildlife to mate and raise their offspring.

Youth is a time for learning and developing, and baby animals are no different from baby humans in this regard. Important life skills need to be mastered if youngsters are going to be able to survive in a harsh world. Even innate or natural skills often must be mastered through practice.

The best way to reduce the decline in northern bobwhite quail populations is to intentionally provide habitat conditions critical to their survival. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There was a time when the plucky "bob-white" call greeted the sunrise around farmlands and pine forests across the southeastern U.S. Today, the fields and forests are becoming silent, and the call of the northern bobwhite is seldom heard.

Simply taking children outside will open their eyes and hearts to the outdoors. While canoeing with adults on Bluff Lake in Noxubee County, Mississippi, this child searched for alligators and birds with her binoculars. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of us spent our childhoods outdoors in a constant state of motion, but many of today's youngsters are not experiencing the outdoor activities we remember with pleasure.

When I reminisce about my childhood, the memories that make me smile the most are of times spent outdoors with family or close friends. I still enjoy many of those same activities today.

Earthworms improve soil by creating pores to allow greater water infiltration for growing plants. They also help decompose dead plant material into nutrients that plants can use to grow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippians care about wildlife and related activities, including hunting, fishing, birdwatching or just enjoying the outdoors.

Spring is the best time of the year to hang purple martin houses, such as these found at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge on March 23, 2017. Place houses 15-20 feet in the air on a pole in an open space, preferably near water. These birds will be happy to help reduce the mosquito population from the area. (Submitted photo by Vicki Maples)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The purple martin is one of the most appreciated and desired birds in the state. It is a summer resident found wherever multi-celled or multi-roomed housing is available.

While they lack the notoriety of the colorful and acrobatic hummingbird, purple martins are by far the most beneficial of the backyard birds. One purple martin can consume thousands of mosquitoes in a single day. Since they are heavily dependent on humans for their shelter, purple martins seem to enjoy being around people, as well.

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