Monthly Archives: April 2010

Bird House Dimensions and Other Bird House Tips

Bird House Entrance Hole Dimensions

Bird houses are an easy way to create additional nesting sites and keep more birds around your home. In fact, bird houses have been in wildife management to help bring back certain cavity-using speices. In this fact article, we explain how to build houses for different kinds of bird species and even some tips for setting them up. As lands become more developed, bird houses become more important. In this article, you find a pattern for the “one-board” bird house in addition to a list of bird house dimensions (above) so you can adapt the pattern for different avian species. Tailoring the house you build to the needs of species you want to attract will increase your chances of success.

For bird houses for all species, here are 11 general guidelines to follow to help you help the birds on your property:

1. Provide a hinged side or roof so you can easily clean the house each spring; early March is a good time. Use rust-proof hinges to make the task easier. Keep in mind that raccoons can open a hook and eye!

2. Drill at least four 1/4-inch drain holes in the bottom of every house, and two 5/8-inch ventilation holes near the top of each side of the house. This keeps the nest well-drained and from over-heating. Continue reading

CWD Found in Missouri Whitetail

It was just one white-tailed deer, but people in Missouri are spooked. That’s because in late February a single whitetail buck in central Missouri tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a contagious, fatal brain infection. It was the state’s first-ever case, found in one animal among the state’s estimated 1.4 million deer.

The discovery prompted a swift reaction from the wildlife department. In fact, Missouri’s state and federal officials, who had been preparing for this moment for years, quickly quarantined the high-fence shooting ranch in Linn County where the sick whitetail was found. They hoped to quell the outbreak before it spread unchecked in the wild. “We have to be aggressive,” state veterinarian Taylor Woods said. “This all boils down to credibility.” Continue reading

Grassland Response to Climate Change

The proposed study will increase our understanding of ecosystem responses to future drought conditions in grassland ecosystems, particularly the maintenance of soil organic carbon pools critical to ecosystem productivity and the balance of soil carbon storage and loss important for ecosystem feedbacks to atmospheric CO2 pools. By targeting the microbial community responsible for soil carbon transformations, we will also be able to identify mechanisms underlying ecosystem responses and potentially begin to develop novel approaches to habitat management in the face of future climate change.

For example, we may find mycorrhizal fungi that can increase plant resistance to drought and could result in a novel management strategy – “seeding” areas with drought-tolerant mycorrhizas to maintain grasslands under future drought conditions. Continue reading

Palo Pinto Ocelot Not a Native Cat

Game warden Matthew Waggoner found a dead ocelot along a highway near Mineral Wells, more than 400 miles from the nearest documented wild population of the endangered cats. Strange. A phone call received by Texas game warden Matthew Waggoner took two weeks ago was like one game wardens and wildlife biologists get every year — somebody saw, found, or hit something and they are not sure what type of wild animal they have stumbled across.

People regularly contact Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) with reports they have seen, photographed or found some dead unusual animal — one that doesn’t exist, is extinct in Texas or is so rare and the report coming from so far from the animal’s range that it’s unlikely the caller saw what he thought he saw. Continue reading

O.H. Ivie Bass Fishing Sets Record!

My money was on Ivie or Lake Fork. However, it just had to be O.H. Ivie Reservoir! The lake has produced nine largemouth bass weighing 13-plus pounds that have been entered into the Toyota ShareLunker program this spring, and now the 500th bass entered into big bass program has been delivered from the same lake. All the fish were special fish to the anglers who caught them, but the ninth was a little more special: Sam Callaway of Corpus Christi will collect $500 a pound for his catch, a total of $6,670!

Callaway caught Toyota ShareLunker number 500 at 9:20 a.m. April 9 using a Zoom Magnum eight-inch lizard in watermelon/red. The 13.34 pound fish was immediately taken to an official ShareLunker weigh and holding station, Concho Park Marina, where it was held for pickup by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) ShareLunker program manager David Campbell. The fish, 20.5 inches in girth and 26.25 inches long, now swims in the Lunker Bunker at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Continue reading

Texas Game Warden Injured by Alligator

How many alligators are in Texas?

Texas may not seem like suitable alligator habitat to those that don’t know much about our State, but Texas residents know that we have plenty of these large reptiles—over 250,000 to be exact. Alligators, not unlike other animals, can cause serious problems, especially because of their size, powerful jaws, and numerous teeth. Refugio County-based Game Warden Raul “Pinky” Gonzales found out the hard way. No wonder Texas has a well-regulated alligator hunting season in place for these prehistoric lizards.

Game Warden Gonzales is recovering this week from injuries suffered in a struggle with an 8-foot, 9-inch alligator. The incident began on Friday, April 2, when Gonzales responded to a call about an alligator on FM 136 just south of Woodsboro. He arrived to find the big ‘gator in the middle of the road. Attempting to relocate the animal, the warden got on top of it and began to tape its mouth. Although he has dealt with alligators for more than two decades and has never been injured, this time was different. The alligator swung its head and struck Gonzales squarely in the face, causing a severe cut to his upper lip, breaking a tooth, loosening another, and damaging his eyeglasses. Continue reading

Enroll Now for Texas Wildlife Conservation Camp

Will you see a screech owl at conservation camp?

The Wildlife Conservation Camp focuses on exciting hands-on activities with presentations led by wildlife professionals from across Texas. The camp is open to high school students who have completed the 9th grade or higher. Subject matter includes wildlife and plant identification, wetland and coastal habitats, hunting as a management tool, species diversity, conservation ethics, wildlife capture and census techniques, wildlife tracking, predator-prey dynamics, white-tailed deer management, fishing, hunter safety, shooting skills and much more.

Campers especially enjoy the opportunity to interact with wildlife professionals and college students majoring in a variety of wildlife and conservation fields. Students considering careers in the natural sciences are strongly encouraged to attend! Continue reading