Wild turkey. Ring-necked pheasant. Trumpeter swan. Turkey vulture. Northern bobwhite. These are the remarkable birds of Iowa's rural landscapes. They're large, conspicuous, and broadly recognized. These species, and a few more, are those most associated with rural life and synonymous with our experience on the farm. However, I submit that to the trained eye, and ear, the bird that most symbolizes Iowa's countryside is not these charismatic familiar species, but rather, the unremarkable yet fascinatingly remarkable Dickcissel.
For many of us, conservation is our way of life. Finding ways to connect with and improve the land, the soil, the water, and wildlife consumes our thoughts and free time. If you have someone in your life that shares that same passion, here’s a few ideas for brightening their holiday season.
New challenges for deer management are on the horizon. Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD is a neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family.
In February of 2018, wildlife biologists and veterinarians investigated the suspicious death of 32 trumpeter swans in a Clinton County wetland. This incident, and others, has prompted interest in finding ways to reduce lead exposure and curtail these unnatural deaths.
If this spring revitalization were a cast of characters, I think we’d agree that geese and robins play the leading role. But my favorite, and perhaps one of the most undervalued supporting characters in this annual revival, is the American Woodcock.
Let there be no mistaking it, bats are important. And, in light of a long history of changes to forest habitats, new emerging pressures associated with energy development and an exotic disease-causing fungus that’s been wreaking unprecedented havoc on eastern populations in the last decade, many of Iowa’s bats are in trouble.
When designing beneficial habitat that houses as well as providing a valuable foraging area for wildlife, brush piles are an often neglected and overlooked aspect of any acreage-improvement habitat design, yet the easiest and least expensive to construct.
We can learn about our land in a variety of ways. An alternative, simple, and reliable method remains perhaps underutilized and is accessible to anyone with trained eyes: reading the stories plainly displayed on the face of the land and trees. Understanding the stories hidden in the elements of our landscapes can transform a walk in the woods or a country drive into a history lesson on the land and the stories hidden in its plants and soils.
With spring coming in a few months, it is refreshing to plan to create or improve water resources for wildlife. A clean water source is a key element in creating a wildlife-friendly acreage. A bird bath or pond, also creates and aesthetically pleasing element that is a great place to sit back and enjoy life.
Nuts produced by trees and shrubs in short supply after killing frost last May. Birds including bluejays, ducks and wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, fox squirrels and many other creatures rely on hard mast from trees and shrubs to build up energy reserves for long winter days or fuel their migration to warmer climates.