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Extension Outdoors

The dark, fiddle-shaped pattern on the back of the brown recluse helps distinguish it from other spiders. Because of their reclusive nature, watch out for these venomous spiders in dark, neglected areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects, Household Insects, Insect Identification, Insects-Home Lawns

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Warmer days motivate many people to tackle cluttered closets, disorganized garages and idle storage buildings. But before pulling out neglected boxes of junk, consider who -- or what -- might have taken up residence in the dark, undisturbed piles.

Sunflower fields offer photographers scenic settings in the summer. Later in the fall, fields like this one offer doves some of their favorite dining options. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kat Lawrence)
June 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- With opening day of dove season a few months away, many hunters have begun thinking about finding a perfect field.

May 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss – Many of us look forward to a summer garden every year, especially after a long winter.

Unfortunately, many wildlife species find garden vegetables and plants just as delicious as we do. This leads to a battle -- a battle to keep the fruits of our labors to ourselves rather than providing a meal for the local wildlife.

Throughout hot, dry seasons, pine straw serves as a perfect mulch around native plants in this rock garden outside of Thompson Hall at Mississippi State University. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Beth Baker)
May 20, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Despite above-average rainfall in Mississippi between January and March, only a small portion of that moisture made it back into our groundwater, which is the primary source for household needs, including water for lawns and gardens.

As bee swarms land on branches and other objects this spring, do not disturb them. The honeybees are seeking a new home and will usually move on within a few days. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
May 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss -- This time of year is when swarms of honeybees settle in trees or shrubs as they leave their hives searching for larger places to live

Children do not have to leave the city limits; they can explore nature in their own backyards. Eastern box turtles (left), which are native to Mississippi, are land dwellers and do not even need ponds to find friends who want to play. Getting dirty is half the fun for children exploring and playing in the great outdoors (right). Rain may drive families inside for a time, but they provide some great water features after the thunder and lightning have passed. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
May 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the busy schedules many of us keep, it is hard to make time to spend outdoors with our kids, but this is a vital part of their development.

 A news article recently caught my eye with a report I found appalling. On average, prisoners spend more time outside than our youth do. To me, this is incredibly sad. Most of our schools are not doing much to help young explorers thrive.

Our children spend over 90 percent of their time indoors and more than 50 hours a week on electronic devices. Society needs to wake up before it is too late.

Hummingbird feeders attract tiny migrating visitors to Mississippi yards, but anyone who is not willing to keep fresh feed in a frequently cleaned container should consider planting a hummingbird garden instead. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
April 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The sight of a hummingbird darting from flower to flower announces spring’s arrival and offers hours of entertainment all summer long.

Many of us provide hummingbird feeders to increase the numbers of the tiny birds we see around our homes before they migrate back to their winter homes in Mexico and Central America.

Alligators are protected by Mississippi law, so consult wildlife officials for guidance in removing these unwanted visitors from ponds and lakes. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Pond and lake owners frequently seek help to control unwanted pests in and around their water, such as turtles, beavers, muskrats, nutrias, alligators and sometime geese.

A new lake or pond provides a new habitat for local critters to move into and live. When landowners decide to put a pond or lake on their property, they need to consider control plans for those unwanted visitors because it is only a matter of time until these animals move in and call the body of water home.

Male red-eyed vireos can sing an average of 20,000 times a day. (Submitted photo)
April 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Spring is a favorite time year for many people who enjoy watching the outdoors come alive with fields of flowers, groves of small budding trees, mixed forests exploding with new growth and the heavens filled with singing birds.

Great egrets, such as this one resting at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in 2015, are not uncommon sights in Mississippi’s state parks. The refuge is located in Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Winston counties. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

By Evan O’Donnell
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippians are blessed with some amazing public lands across the state that offer opportunities for families, organized groups and individuals to experience the beauty of the state and its many outdoor recreational activities.

Brown-headed nuthatch (left) inspecting a recently cleaned-out nest box in a backyard in Clinton, Mississippi. Nest boxes with easy access doors make cleaning the boxes for the new breeding season simple and quick. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Adam T. Rohnke).
April 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- One of the key elements of creating a wildlife-friendly yard is providing areas for animals to nest.

The adult male turkey, called a gobbler or tom, gobbles in an attempt to attract as many hens as possible with the intent of breeding. (Photo by iStock)
March 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring comes turkey season and the countless hours spent listening for that chill-inducing gobble.

Mississippi is rich with local produce, as seen in this file photo from the Jackson Farmers Market. Supporting local farmers markets adds money to the economy, benefits the environment and contributes to healthy, tasty meals. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
March 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Food

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As the movement toward buying local food continues to grow, consumers may wonder if this trend is actually benefiting the environment.

A 2011 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends Survey reported that consumers were motivated to buy local food for a variety of reasons, including freshness, taste, support of the local economy, knowledge of food sources and concern for the environment.

Keep cats indoors for their safety and to protect songbirds and other wildlife. (Submitted photo)
March 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Over the years, a number of felines have lowered their standards enough to share their lives with me, and my life was richer for the experience. I wouldn’t call myself a “cat lady,” but I am definitely a cat fan.

Before you dog lovers start hating me, you should know that even more dogs have been part of my family, along with rabbits, horses, goats, snakes, hamsters and assorted poultry.

This young angler is actually helping an Oktibbeha County pond grow larger fish. Pond and lake managers need to harvest 1 pound of bass to 5 pounds of bream, usually beginning in the third year after stocking, to promote larger fish. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Linda Breazeale)
March 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I manage the fish in my lake or pond?”

My responses to these landowners vary, but I usually ask them some questions of my own. What is your goal? Do you want big bass, big bream or just an overall increase in all fish species in your pond or lake? Once the lake owners set their goals, then we can go to work.

Pond weeds start growing early as soon as day length and water temperatures allow, so start a weed management program before they become a problem. (Photo by MSU Extension/Wes Neal)
February 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Having too many weeds in a pond is the bane of many Mississippi pond owners.

Pond weeds start growing early, as soon as day length and water temperatures allow. Don’t let them get out of hand! Start a weed management program before they become a problem to keep your pond picture perfect.

After the winter breeding season, male white-tailed deer shed their antlers, which sometimes can be found by naturalists walking through the woods. (Photo by MSU Extension/Melissa Grimes)
February 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As I have gotten older, I’ve noticed changes in my neck and spine have led me to walk more bent over. I’m not the only one; many biologists and naturalists I know walk the same way. Our eyes seem to scan the ground directly in front of us more deliberately than when we were younger.

Before fertilizing a pond, be sure there will enough fishing to take care of the increased fish population. (Photo by MSU Extension/Wes Neal)
February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The decision to fertilize a fishing pond is one that should not be taken lightly.

A fertilization program can greatly increase fish production in fishing ponds. Adding nutrients stimulates the growth of microscopic plants, or algae, which feed the small animals that feed the fish.

Different birdfeeder styles appeal to different bird species, so installing a greater variety of feeders will attract diverse birds. Most backyard bird species prefer black oil sunflower seeds. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Adam Rohnke)
February 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- You can easily get overwhelmed by the variety of birdfeeders and birdseed blends available online or at your local store.

As with anything, birdfeeders and birdseed can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Following the simple tips I offer in this column will ensure an enjoyable and effective bird feeding experience.

During spring and summer while bucks’ antlers are growing, they are covered with a tissue called velvet, as seen here. (Photo courtesy of Steve Gulledge)
January 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Nothing elicits wonder and fascination in the minds of deer hunters more than antlers.

Everyone can remember getting a case of the “goose bumps” during an encounter with an antlered buck, and many people remain captivated by antlers throughout their lives. So, why do deer have antlers?


Extension Outdoors Archive