Author Archives: Dr. Maureen Frank

Quail buffet line

What do you think of when you think of a quail buffet? Perhaps you think this is a reference to supplemental feeding, but today’s post is about increasing the amount of forage for quail without supplemental feeding. The buffet line in this post refers to a disked strip of land. Disking promotes the growth of forbs such as western ragweed, partidge pea, and croton, which are all good food sources for northern bobwhite quail. Not only are the forbs themselves eaten by quail, but the insects that eat forbs… Read More →

Ranch Management University

Are you new to ranching?  Do you have questions about the fundamentals of ranch management, such as soil fertility, the nutrient requirements of cattle, or wildlife habitat management? Ranch Management University (RMU) is a program offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service twice a year that provides education about ranching to new and inexperienced ranchers.  This spring’s RMU will be held April 3-7 in College Station.  The program will include both lectures and demonstrations by AgriLife specialists. For a list of topics and more information, check out the AgriLife… Read More →

Weather and wildlife

Weather conditions have a variety of impacts on wildlife. Colder-than-usual temperatures can increase mortality rates during the winter months. Warmer-than-usual temperatures affect the migration timing of songbirds and waterfowl. Drought often limits food resources that are available to wildlife, while abundant precipitation may supply a bountiful feast of lush vegetation and numerous insects. The recent NOAA predictions give a head’s up that warm temperatures are likely for the next three months. What does this mean for wildlife management? Watch for young animals to be born or hatched earlier… Read More →

Warmer weather ahead

Texas’ warmer-than-usual winter isn’t really news at this point. What you might be interested to learn, however, is that we might be in for a warmer-than-usual spring, as well. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts weather for the entire country, including predictions that stretch out months from now. Just released late last week, the most recent three-month forecast gives a 50/50 probability that the warm weather in Texas will continue for the next three months. The precipitation forecast indicates equal chances of the next three months being dry,… Read More →

Native, invasive, or both?

If you read this week’s NatNews, you may have noticed that I called brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) a “native invasive” species. This phrase may seem contradictory, so in this post I will clarify the use of the terms native, exotic, and invasive. A native species has historically occurred in a given area. For example, white-tailed deer are native to Texas. A non-native, or exotic, species has been introduced to an area, intentionally or unintentionally, by humans. Axis deer are an exotic species in Texas. Introduced is another term for… Read More →

Black-capped vireos proposed for delisting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently proposed that black-capped vireos (Vireo atricapilla) be removed from the federal list of endangered species. Black-capped vireos were listed as an endangered species in 1987, when scientists estimated that just 350 remained in the wild. Today, over 14,000 black-capped vireos breed throughout Oklahoma, central Texas, and a small area of north-central Mexico. The population declines were attributed to habitat loss and nest parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), a native invasive species. Black-capped vireo recovery has been attributed to improvements in… Read More →