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K-State Research and Extension News

Outbound: Kansas

Each week, K-State Research and Extension wildlife specialist Charlie Lee joins Eric Atkinson, agriculture director for the K-State Radio Network, to discuss a wide variety of wildlife issues of interest to farmers, ranchers, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts of all kinds.  Each feature is approximately 5-minutes in length.

Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

Program Date

Segment Title
and Description

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12-14-18COTTONTAIL RABBIT NUMBERS– Prolific as they are, eastern cottontail rabbit numbers have been slowly declining in the plains region in recent years.  This is largely due to changes in favorable habitat, though this rabbit remains quite abundant, and is in no way threatened or endangered. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about the nature of eastern cottontail rabbits, including some facts that most people don’t know.OUT 12-14 
12-07-18STARLINGS AND FEED BUNKS– Large numbers of starlings inhabiting livestock feeding facilities can be costly to the producer.  Those birds are notorious for consuming grain out of feed bunks, which can end up impeding livestock performance.  A recent study in Colorado attempted to pin down the components of a dairy cattle ration that appeal the most to starlings. The results may serve as a step toward a solution to this problem.OUT 12-07 
11-30-18DEER REACTION TO HUNTERS – Surprisingly, in spite of the popularity of firearms deer hunting, very little research has been done on deer movements in the presence of hunters.  A new study conducted in Oklahoma recorded deer behavior as hunters encroached on their habitat.  The findings may help explain the elusiveness of deer during hunting season.OUT 11-30
11-23-18PROZAC AND STARLINGS– When it comes to human pharmaceutical products ending up in the environment, the impact on wildlife species is not well understood.  A recent study tackles part of that big question, as researchers looked at how residues of a popular anti-depressant affected starlings that eventually came in contact with it.OUT 11-23
11-16-18INSECTICIDES AND QUAIL– The 30 years of decline in quail populations parallels the introduction and use of an important class of crop insecticides, known as neonicotinoids (knee-oh-NICK-ah-tin-oids).  Recently, scientists conducted an extensive study in Texas to see if there is a correlation between the two. OUT 11-16
11-09-18NEW RODENTICIDE OPTION– Pocket gophers and voles can cause enough damage in crop fields to merit a response from producers.  Controlling those rodents has become more complicated, as they have developed a resistance to the most frequently-used rodenticides.  Recently, the USDA evaluated another product which, in combination with those rodenticides, rendered good control results. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee looks at the results.OUT 11-09 
11-02-18GARTER SNAKE INVASION– Harmless as they are, garter snakes are on the move this fall, seeking winter hibernation sites...often turning up in homes and outbuildings. Wildlife specialist Charlie Lee offers some background on the kinds of garter snakes found in Kansas and how homeowners can take action to keep them outside.OUT 11-02
10-26-18COYOTES AND DOGS– As coyote numbers in urban and suburban areas continue to climb, dog owners are increasingly concerned about potential coyote attacks on their animals.  The interaction of coyotes and dogs was the subject of a recent study that used social media videos to document such incidents. OUT 10-26
10-19-18BOWHUNTING AND DEER CONTROL– Primarily for safety reasons, urban wildlife control officials promote bowhunting as a preferred means of deer population control. There’s been a concern, however, about how effective archery equipment is in harvesting deer cleanly, and with a high recovery rate. That was the subject of a long-term study that K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee reviews this week.OUT 10-19 
10-12-18FERAL CATS AND RATS– Feral cats prey on a variety of other species in both urban and rural habitats.  When contending with a rat problem in a given area, many think of feral cats as a means of effective rat control.  K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee. says a new study indicates just the opposite. OUT 10-12
10-05-18BACKGROUND ON COPPERHEADS– One of the five venomous snakes found in Kansas, the copperhead, resides largely in the eastern half of the state.  And while people should refrain from tampering with copperheads, they are somewhat less dangerous than other venomous species. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee talks about the nature and traits of copperheads. OUT 10-05
09-28-18LESSER PRAIRIE CHICKEN RESEARCH– A recent study by researchers at Kansas State University examined how useful Conservation Reserve Program grasslands are as nesting areas for the Lesser Prairie Chicken. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee discusses the findings of that research.OUT 09-28
09-21-18NON-LETHAL PRAIRIE DOG CONTROL– A study on non-lethal prairie dog control looks promising for use in residential areas where prairie dogs often cause damage to home landscapes.OUT 09-21  
09-14-18GUARDIAN DOG ISSUES– For centuries, guardian dogs have been used to ward predators away from livestock herds and flocks.  In recent times, however, the number of livestock owners who use guardian dogs in that capacity have been relatively few.  A recent report addressed why there is such limited use of this livestock protection practice.OUT 09-14
09-07-18WILDLIFE AND MORTALITY PITS– Large livestock facilities often feature mortality disposal areas, often called pits, for disposing of deceased livestock.  Up until recently, there have been no studies of wildlife behavior in the proximity of those.  Now, new research out of Colorado suggests that various wildlife do frequent these facilities, which in some cases could be problematic. OUT 09-07
08-31-18POCKET GOPHER CONTROL– The digging activity by pocket gophers can be damaging to alfalfa and other hay fields, which in turn can be costly for growers.  There are a handful of toxicant products on the market for pocket gopher control, but their effectiveness in inconsistent.  Now, a new study suggests that combining those products could result in improved control.OUT 08-31
08-24-18TURKEY VULTURE STUDY– The role of turkey vultures as scavengers in the ecosystem is greatly underappreciated. In fact, a new study indicates that if turkey vultures were to decline in number, other wildlife would not be able to take up the slack in cleaning up carrion.OUT 08-24 
08-17-18ZINC PHOSPHIDE IMPROVEMENT– As a control product for rodent problems in agricultural settings and elsewhere, zinc phosphide can perform very well.  However, it has exhibited one important flaw…it’s often not palatable to some rodents, meaning that residual product may remain on site as a threat to off-target species like birds. Researchers are attempting to correct that problem. OUT 08-17
08-10-18SWIFT FOX RECOVERY– After decades of decline, swift fox populations are on the upswing in the High Plains region.  This is happening in spite of ongoing confrontations with coyotes.  Recent research out of Texas Tech University sought to quantify the impact of coyote predation on swift foxes. OUT 08-10
08-03-18WILD HORSES ISSUE– Efforts have been in place for well over 40 years to sustainably manage wild horses and burros in the western rangelands of the United States.  So far, they have not succeeded in curbing the boom in their populations, which is swiftly leading to rangeland degradation…and that includes negative consequences for other wildlife. OUT 08-03 
07-27-18RACCOON EVICTION PRODUCTS– Raccoons will seek out every opportunity to find secure shelter, which in some cases may be an attic or chimney.  Hiring a wildlife control professional to deal with those situations is one course of action, or another is to use a raccoon eviction product. But just how effective are they?OUT 07-27 
07-20-18CITIZEN COYOTE HAZING– Coyote encroachment into urban areas is of increasing concern.  Recently, there was an attempt in the Denver area to enlist the help of the public in encouraging coyotes to go elsewhere. It was based on citizens “hazing” coyotes. Find out what was done and the results of that effort. OUT 07-20
07-13-18MOUSE CONTROL STUDY– There are scores of products on the market for controlling mice in homes and outbuildings.  Their effectiveness was the subject of a recent USDA study, and the findings were quite surprising.OUT 07-13 
07-06-18KANGAROO RAT FACTS– Although a nocturnal animal, kangaroo rats can frequently be observed in the western half of Kansas.  This unique rodent has capabilities that allow it to survive threats from predators and harsh weather conditions.OUT 07-06 
06-29-18ANTELOPE PREDATION RESEARCH– While pronghorn antelope numbers in the High Plains appear to be relatively stable, concerns over predation losses continue. Coyotes, adept at preying on young antelope, has prompted research into the extent of that impact. OUT 06-29 
06-22-18ROADRUNNERS IN KANSAS– Likely because of increased habitat availability, the greater roadrunner can be found more frequently these days in the southern half of Kansas.  It’s a quite unique bird, and is enjoyable to observe when possible. Learn more about the biology of the roadrunner and the findings from an interesting study of its habitat preferences. OUT 06-22
06-15-18LIVESTOCK PREDATION EVIDENCE– As part of his assignment as an Extension wildlife specialist, K-State’s Charlie Lee travels the state, helping livestock producers identify wildlife predation on their stock. Before heading to the site to assess a situation, he asks producers to preserve the scene as much as possible, so that it can be confirmed that a predator is in fact responsible for that loss of livestock.   OUT 06-15
06-08-18PRAIRIE RATTLESNAKES IN KANSAS– While the prairie rattlesnake is often misunderstood and feared,  it actually poses little danger – if left alone. Knowing where you’re most likely to find prairie rattlesnakes in Kansas and what to do if you happen to cross paths with one is extremely important.OUT 06-08
06-01-18CURBING WOODPECKER DAMAGE– Every year, woodpeckers cause widespread damage to wood-sided homes and outbuildings. There’s been a lot of research in how to prevent this damage. But, what works and doesn't work?OUT 06-01
05-25-18WESTERN MEADOWLARK STATUS– For nearly a century, the western meadowlark has been designated as the state bird of Kansas.  Historically, it has thrived in the central plains environment.  But wildlife experts have noted that western meadowlark numbers have declined some in recent decades, and that deserves some attention. OUT 05-25
05-18-18RIVER OTTER RECOVERY– For years, the river otter was in a state of decline in this country.  However, through a concerted national effort to restore the otter, it has now made a highly-successful comeback.  And it can now be found commonly in many Kansas rivers and streams. OUT 05-18
05-11-18DEER TICK CONTROL– The ticks are out in full force this spring.  Deer and rodents are common carriers of ticks, and therefore can be at the center of tick control efforts.  This week, K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee covers some of the research-proven approaches to reducing tick numbers in a given setting, including a new system that is showing good promise.OUT 05-11 
05-04-18HUMMINGBIRD FEEDING APPROACH– The ever-popular hummingbirds are now migrating northward, and have already been seen in Kansas.  So it’s time for homeowners who want to encourage hummingbirds to stick around to put out their feeders. OUT 05-04
04-27-18CRAPPIE BEHAVIOR STUDY– The peak time for crappie fishing will soon be at hand.  The challenge for anglers is finding the crappie ahead of and during spawning.  That’s where the findings of a new study out of Kentucky may prove helpful.   OUT 04-27
04-20-18SERIOUS BAT DISEASE– A punishing disease called white-nose syndrome is hitting bat populations hard throughout the eastern half of the U.S.  And now, it has been confirmed in two counties in Kansas. Bats are a vastly underappreciated species that deserve preservation, and a multi-agency effort is now underway to address this serious disease problem.OUT 04-20
04-13-18DEER REFLECTOR SIGNS– As a way to combat the problem of deer collisions with vehicles, some states have deployed what are called wildlife warning reflectors along the sides of roadways.  These are intended to frighten deer away from the road as a vehicle approaches.  A recent study evaluated how well those perform, and arrived at a surprising result.OUT 04-13
04-06-18NORWAY RAT CONTROL– The property damage that Norway rats can inflict around homes and farmsteads can be substantial. However, taking measures to control these common rodents is a simple multi-step process. OUT 04-06