News Filed Under Urban and Backyard Wildlife
Northern cardinals are a commonly spotted bird during winter months. If you’re like me, you’ve seen cardinals featured on various holiday décor items. It’s almost like they’re the official bird of winter.
Bats have long been associated with Halloween, and this has fostered many myths about them. They may look spooky to some, but they perform critical tasks in the environment that help humans. The 1,400 species that are spread across six different continents serve an important purpose in our ecosystem. They pollinate plants, distribute seeds, and control insect pests, including mosquitoes. Fifteen different species of these small mammals live in Mississippi.
Hummingbirds are fascinating little creatures and are adored by many people. If you’re a hummingbird lover, you’re probably giddy to have them flock to your yard again this season.
You may have recently heard about joro spiders on the news. The gigantic yellow spiders are creepy enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies! The good news about these spiders is that they have not shown up in Mississippi yet.
In the South, there’s a legend that says rain is on the way any time you see a turtle cross the road. There’s very little truth to this myth, even though it does seem like rain is in the forecast after we see one of these creatures slowly making its way across the street.
Spring is when we see a lot of baby wildlife. You’ll likely start seeing young animals tagging along behind one or both their parents, and boy, is it cute.
Butterflies aren’t just beautiful. They are important pollinators for wildflowers and woody plants. But before they transform into the colorful, winged adults you see fluttering around your landscape, they are caterpillars hatched from eggs. Mississippi is home to more than 50 species of butterflies. Have you seen any of these three common butterfly caterpillars in your yard?
Purple martins are a real treat to have grace your landscape. They offer hours of bird watching entertainment with their musical chatter, beautiful colors, and aerial acrobatics. Each year, purple martins migrate to North America from South America to nest. They arrive at varying times, but most tend to show up in March in Mississippi. To help welcome purple martins to your home, make sure you have the right kind of habitats for them.
If there’s one thing we southerners love, it’s our backyard birds. There’s something enjoyable about watching birds fly around and chirp with each other in the yard. However, as brutal as the winter months can be to us, it can be even more challenging to our feathered friends. Many trees and shrubs become bare during the cold weather, eliminating their primary sources of shelter and food. To help provide food, water, and shelter to your backyard buddies, consider creating a welcoming habitat that will prepare them for cold weather.
At a quick glance, coyotes can be mistaken for a domestic dog, like a German shepherd or collie. But this wild dog species can be trouble if they take up residence in your neighborhood.
Coyotes are abundant in Mississippi and are natural predators, preying on animals like small dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. They also can damage land.
As cooler weather arrives, mice are looking for any source of heat and food they can find. Sometimes, they find their way into homes. You may notice the faint pitter-patter of small feet inside walls and attics. It’s just the mice looking for a warm place to stay!
The white-tailed deer is one of the most popular game species in Mississippi. We have over 2 million white-tailed deer in the state, and we rank second behind Texas for the densest population of deer in the nation.
Armadillos are one of the most unique looking critters out there. These animals are covered in silver, armor-like plates that protect them The word “armadillo” actually means “little armored one” in Spanish!
The Northern raccoon, also known as the backyard bandit, is no stranger to Mississippi. Known for the black bandit mask on its face and its striped tail, these raccoons can be found in a variety of environments. They easily adapt to their surroundings, whether that be in forested areas or cities.
Is it a frog or a toad? If you stumbled on this amphibian, would you be able to call it by its correct name? Many people believe that frogs and toads are two different types of amphibians. Technically, a toad is a type of frog! At first glance, they may appear very similar but there are a few differences that will help distinguish one from the other.
Birdwatching is a favorite pastime of many Mississippians. My grandmother had a bird book she wore out over the years. I fondly remember sitting on the porch swing with her as a child trying to identify the different birds that frequented her house. Sometimes we were successful in finding the bird, other times not so much.
There's nothing more majestic than the bald eagle. As many know, the bald eagle is the United States' national bird and is exclusively found in North America. Spotting one in the wild is a moment many will never forget!
Most people have a love-hate relationship with squirrels. It’s fascinating to watch them jump from tree branch to tree branch, searching for any food in sight. At the same time, they can also be quite a nuisance to homeowners.
A skunk knows how to make its presence known. With their furry black and white coats and pungent odor, they’re hard to miss! Mississippi is home to two species of skunks: the spotted skunk and the striped skunk. The striped skunk is the most commonly found skunk in the state and are easily identified by, you guessed it, a white stripe on their back.