Each week, former 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.
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INVASIVE SPECIES STUDY– It’s generally understood that invasive wildlife species—those which venture away from their native habitat—can cause problems to the point where they become costly economically. A new analysis set out to actually pin down those costs, and its findings could serve as a guide for addressing those invasive species problems more efficiently and effectively.
BLACK BEARS IN KANSAS– Kansas is not normally thought of as prime habitat for black bears. However, in recent years, there have been quite a few black bear sightings scattered around the state. And there’s a likely reason for that, according to former K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee…who adds that these bears generally pose very little threat to livestock.
PRAIRIE DOG STUDY– When conducting a field study of predation on prairie dog colonies, wildlife scientists discovered something fully unanticipated. They observed that a badger will prey aggressively on prairie dogs, at a rather stunning pace. This brings to light another possibility for biological control of prairie dog populations on rangeland.
BIRD REPELLANT TRIAL– Nuisance bird infestations are often a pain to deal with. Over time, people have tried various repellant products to rid themselves of unwanted bird roosts or other unfavorable activity. Recently, a specific commercial bird repellant product was evaluated for its efficacy.
DOMESTIC CAT STUDY– Domesticated cats that are allowed to roam outdoors often display their predatory nature. Wildlife losses to cat predation are substantial, and the impact on backyard bird populations is the most prolific. A new study may have uncovered a few measures for discouraging that kind of predation.
URBAN COYOTES AND FOXES– Red foxes have inhabited urban settings for several decades. More recently, coyotes have taken to urban areas in increasing numbers. This has raised questions about how these two carnivores get along in a shared habitat. A new study came up with unexpected findings.
GRASSLAND BIRD NESTING– Invasive woody species continue to become established in grassland areas. Compounding that problem from a wildlife standpoint is the impact on nesting grassland birds. According to the results of a new study out of Texas, that woody cover promotes predator activity. Those findings also directly apply to Kansas grasslands.
FARM POND WINTERKILL– Coming out of a cold winter, it’s not uncommon to see dead fish on farm ponds. There are several factors that contribute to this kind of fish winterkill. And, a lot of it has to do with the overall condition and ecological balance of a pond.
DEER FOOD PLOTS– Over the many years, longtime K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee has been frequently asked about preferred food plots for attracting deer. He says there’s no one stock answer to that question. But there is new information from a study out of Mississippi State University that does offer some guidance on which cool-season crop plots deer like to graze.
BIRD COLLISION STUDY– A new USDA Wildlife Services analysis illustrates the ongoing problem with bird-aircraft collisions. This study looked at 30 years of collision data to determine which bird species are most prone to colliding with planes in flight. This information could be beneficial as wildlife ecologists and others try to find a solution to this concern.
WOLF REINTRODUCTION STUDY– The coming reintroduction of wolves in parts of Colorado is casting a stronger light on research into the impacts of this form of wildlife management. One long-term study looked at how wolf reintroduction affected the population of another predatory species, mountain lions, as well as a primary prey species, elk -- and it showed some important things about wildlife movement.
FLEAS AND PRAIRIE DOGS– Certain flea infestations are more than just an irritant to prairie dog populations. They actually pose a major threat to prairie dogs, in that they can vector a deadly plague. And that, in turn, can disrupt an entire prairie ecosystem.
DEER ANTLER SHED– Buck antler sheds can tell a landowner quite a bit about the makeup and balance of their deer populations. Some use “antler traps” to collect antlers for this purpose. But there are numerous reasons why that’s not a good idea. Instead, landowners and hunters are encouraged to use trail cameras to gather that information.
WINTER ICE SAFETY– There’s a lot of winter left, allowing for ice to re-form on Kansas ponds and streams. Conducting hunting or fishing activities on thin ice too often results in tragedy, as a recent study highlights. K-State wildlife specialist Charlie Lee takes a look at that topic, offering guidelines on ice thickness that everyone should know.