Author Archives: Dr. Maureen Frank

Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society – 2018 Conference

This year’s meeting of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society (TCTWS) will be held at the Sheraton Dallas and will focus on the topic “The relevance of conservation to a diverse society: how to make it a reality.” The excellent list of plenary speakers includes Dr. Steve Williams, President of the Wildlife Management Institute; Ms. Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation; Dr. John McDonald, President of The Wildlife Society, and Ms. Tina Yturria Buford, Director of Education for East Foundation. The annual TCTWS conference… Read More →

Quail on ice

Earlier this week, a post on the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch Facebook page featured a covey of bobwhites huddled up against the cold weather. This leads us to an excellent NatNotes topic: what do wildlife do when it’s cold? Across the rangelands of Texas, some critters are more familiar with cold than others. Most of the bobwhites in south Texas probably haven’t seen this much cold weather in a couple generations, while quail on the High Plains of the Panhandle experience freezing temperatures more regularly. So for… Read More →

All About Water

We’ve experienced some highs and lows and crazy weather in Texas the past few months. But, unfortunately for our rangelands, what we’ve been missing is rain! On Texas rangelands, drought is not an “if” but a “when” and “how long will it last.” So, while we always hope for rain in the forecast, it’s good to prepare for the driest scenario. This year, water will be a regular feature of TexNat posts. We’ll discuss how wildlife use water, how rain affects plant health and diversity, and how all… Read More →

Hunting as population management

Many hunters dream of harvesting a trophy buck. While people hunt for a variety of reasons, including food, tradition, spending time with family, connecting with nature, and seeking that trophy buck, the role of hunting in deer population management is sometimes overlooked. In particular, some hunters do not realize the importance of harvesting does to maintain balanced sex ratios. “Sex ratio” refers to a comparison of the number of males in a population to the number of females. As with most mammals, the sex ratio of white-tailed deer… Read More →

Hurricanes, floods, and wildlife

As Texans continue to recover from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, and with hurricane season far from over, many people have questions about how these events affect wildlife. Quail are particularly prone to the effects of rainfall. Find out more in this short video by Texas Wildlife Association: Quail vs. Hurricane

Wildlife and flooding

When a natural disaster strikes, wildlife have limited ways to respond. Floods commonly displace many species from their usual homes and allow other species to access new areas. As the water recedes, people may be surprised to find wildlife in unusual places. Most wildlife displaced by flooding is simply trying to find food and shelter. However, if people are unaware of their surroundings, negative encounters with displaced wildlife can result. One particular concern during post-disaster cleanup is snakes. Debris piles created during a storm attract snakes for several… Read More →

Notes about Nighthawks

What’s in a name? Although most wildlife names are pretty straightforward (white-tailed deer have white tails, northern bobwhites say their name), others can be misleading. This post is about nighthawks, which are fascinating birds that are not at all related to hawks! Unlike hawks, which are classified together with other large, diurnal birds of prey, nighthawks are part of a group of birds that eat insects and are most active at night. Other birds in the same family as nighthawks have equally fascinating names, including nightjar, chuck-will’s-widow, whip-poor-will,… Read More →

Notes about Rattlesnakes

Show of hands — who likes rattlesnakes? Many people who spend time on rangelands strongly dislike this particular type of wildlife. Just like all wildlife, though, rattlesnakes have their place in the ecosystem. Next question: who likes rats? Who likes disease? Controlling pest populations is an important ecosystem service provided by rattlesnakes. Small mammals are the #1 prey of rattlesnakes, so rattlesnakes keep rodent populations in check which in turn can reduce the spread of zoonotic diseases carried by rodents. Unlike other venomous snakes, rattlesnakes will often alert… Read More →

Are you ready…

… for hunting season?! Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has released dates for the 2017-2018 hunting season. Check out the details here, and learn more about the animals you are hunting through the resources in our Game Management section.

Turkey roosts

In honor of Independence Day, today’s post is about turkeys, which were almost chosen as the national bird of the United States. Rio Grande wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia) are the most common turkey species in Texas. A critical habitat component for turkeys is a place to roost. While all birds roost, not all do so communally. Turkeys roost communally, meaning that every night, a group of turkeys gather together to rest in a particular area. Other than nesting hens, which roost on the ground, Rio Grande wild turkeys roost… Read More →