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Land litter washes downstream, so everyone needs to properly dispose of trash and recyclable items to keep Mississippi beautiful. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
January 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment

By Beth Baker
Research Associate
MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Litter or trash in streets and roadway ditches is much more than an eyesore, and it continues to be a problem across Mississippi.

Uncontrolled wild fires can be very destructive to people and wildlife. But not all fire is bad. Biologists and land managers recognize prescribed fire -- intentional, controlled and managed burning -- as a valuable tool for creating habitat for many plants and animals.
January 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It is becoming routine for the nightly news to broadcast video of enormous fires roaring through Western forests, destroying homes and devastating thousands of acres of trees.

Migration is one of the ways wild creatures, such as these Canada geese, adapt to the onset of colder weather. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
December 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

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?

Mississippi is home to several species of cicadas, including this annual cicada. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
December 21, 2015 - Filed Under: Insects-Forage Pests

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.

The English language is filled with idioms about wildlife, including “birds of a feather flock together,” the way these wild turkeys have gathered in a field. (Submitted photo)
December 18, 2015 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

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.

December 11, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- So, you have finally worked up the nerve to ask that landowner for permission to hunt his property for the upcoming hunting season, and he said yes.

Representatives of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are the best contacts when someone discovers a sick or injured wild animal. Their goal is to treat and re-release wild animals, as Chad Dacus, wildlife bureau director, is shown doing for this rehabilitated bald eagle at the Barnett Reservoir near Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Brian Broom)
December 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

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.

Large groups of cormorants typically roost at night in clusters of trees, such as these, and spend their days fishing in natural lakes, rivers and catfish ponds, to the dismay of Mississippi’s catfish producers. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
November 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss -- It’s a duck, it’s a, 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!

Some landowners view beavers as costly nuisances because their dams can flood agricultural fields and forests. However, these ecosystem engineers create ponds that are ultimately beneficial to the overall ecology of an area, including wildlife populations. (Submitted photo)
November 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

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.

Turtles pose no major threat to fish populations in ponds. In fact, they have a beneficial effect on water quality by scavenging for dead animals and plants. (Photo by Evan O’Donnell/MSU Extension)
November 13, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management
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!

November 6, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

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.

Louse flies…

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.

The migration of ducks, such as this blue-winged teal, from the Mississippi Delta to the Prairie Pothole region of the northern Great Plains each year is an example of a circannual rhythm. (File photo/MSU Extension)
October 30, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

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.

Opossums that live near people may visit vegetable gardens, compost piles, pet food dishes or garbage cans such as this one. (Photo by MSU Extension/Evan O’Donnell)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Often found scavenging in trash cans or seen lying dead on roadsides after car collisions, opossums are not the most revered or understood wildlife creatures in Mississippi.

This is an image of two mallard ducks flying. Waterfowl can carry various strains of the avian influenza virus. Hunter can help prevent spreading the virus by following recommended precautions.
October 16, 2015 - Filed Under: Poultry, Avian Flu, Wildlife, Waterfowl

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. 

Many myths and half-truths surround the invasive wild hog population, including the notion that hogs will not cross a paved road, as they are seen doing in this photo taken in the Mississippi Delta. (Photo courtesy of Delta Wildlife)
October 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

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.

Before heading to the woods this season, deer hunters can download three free apps developed by experts at Mississippi State University. (Photo courtesy of Robert Lewis)
September 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

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.

Canada geese, such as these in Raymond, can live in Mississippi almost year-round and are attracted to bodies of water and grassy areas, such as golf courses, lawns, parks and recently harvested grain fields. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
September 18, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Waterfowl

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.

Hummingbirds are responsible for pollinating at least 150 plant species. Many hummingbird enthusiasts hang out feeders from March through November, when the birds migrate south. It is best to leave feeders out until no hummingbirds are seen for two weeks. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications)
September 11, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

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.

During lean times, food plots provide nutrients to help with antler development. (Photo submitted by MDWFP/Scott Edwards)
September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

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.

Alligators, such as this one at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, are native to Mississippi and have rebounded from the endangered species list. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

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.


Extension Outdoors Archive