Category Archives: NatNotes

Coyote Love is in the Air

As we approach Valentines Day, the thoughts of many humans turn towards romance, flowers, chocolates, and time spent with an amorous partner. Curiously enough, many human children are born 9 months after Valentines Day…. A similar tale is told for many medium-sized mammals around this time of year. A drive down any Texas highway will yield the odorous testimony that skunks are on the move. Foxes, too, and yes, coyotes. Curiously enough, Valentine’s Day is situated near the peak of breeding season for coyotes, along with many other… Read More →

Grazing for Wildlife–the Importance of Bovines to Habitat

A recent research project in Europe aims to reintroduce the auroch–the wild ancestor of modern cattle–to European habitats. The auroch was an impressive animal, somewhat resembling today’s Spanish fighting bulls, that lived in the woodlands of Europe until 1627, when the last animal died in Poland. Extinct for centuries, a breeding program is working backwards to resurrect the auroch from domestic cattle–unlocking their wild genes, if you will. If you want, read more here. Now, that’s well and good for Europe. In Texas, we long ago worked to… 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 →

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 →