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Outdoors Today

Deer Classic hosts exceptional displays

IOWA’S 2021 DEER CLASSIC is happening right now, this weekend at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines. Show organizers are comfortable with hosting the show and understand that vendors and the general public have adapted to and will exercise due diligence regarding personal health. ...

Trumpeter swans take a time out

TRUMPETER SWANS currently breed throughout most of the western Great lakes region. That region includes the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Canada provinces of Ontario and Maintoba. Some of these swans, a very few, have a GPS-GSM transmitters to record high resolution, ...

Eagle watching — Who is watching who?

EAGLE NEST WATCHING by people may be a later winter activity for some folks. Congratulations if you are one of those people inspired by this annual wildlife renewal story being played out near you. If you know where to look, an active eagle nest is not too far away from wherever you live. ...

Winter survivalist: White-breasted Nuthatch

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis) is the featured creature for our admiration on this very cold February morning. As far as the bird itself is concerned, it must go about its business as usual of finding something to eat. Without food, its body core temperature cannot be maintained. ...

Donate to Chickadee Checkoff

CHICKADEE CHECKOFF time will soon be approaching Iowans during the next several months. So today’s image of trumpeter swans is as good a reminder as one can get of how funds contributed via the Iowa Income Tax reporting forms helps many non-game wildlife species. Iowa DNR biologists have a ...

John F. Lacey’s Iowa connection

oday is your chance to learn a bit of history about a man, his vision, his observational skills, and his position within government to provide a tool for law enforcement. His work made a huge impact on breaking down the impact of poachers and other illegal taking of wildlife and wild plants ...

Deer by the numbers

DEER NUMBERS and DNR management programs to focus on herd reduction is a huge and complicated business for wildlife biologists. Iowa has 99 counties and 56,272.81 square miles within its borders. Within these borders various landscapes and terrains exist that fill a wide array of topographic ...

Frost decorates the landscape

FROST COVERED everything last weekend. It was an opportunity to get outside to record the event with my camera. It did not take long to appreciate how complete transformation of tthe landscape was. Every blade of tall grass, every branch of every bush and shrub, and every branch, twig and ...

A new year to enjoy nature

2021 is here, ready of not. We have little choice as the clock and calendar just keep ticking off time every second, minute and hour, day and month. We don’t actually see time fly, but time marches on in its predictable fashion as it always has. So how we adapt and innovate and strive to ...

Natural wonders big and small

WOODPECKER BIRDS are interesting animals to observe as they probe tree cavities or even lawns looking for something to eat. It seems Mother Nature made enough woodpecker species to allow for exploitation of just about every niche in every forest on every continent (except Antarctica). There ...

First deer = lifetime memories

A FIRST DEER makes for a proud moment for any young boy or girl. Good mentors are essential to assist youth in learning what it takes to hunt ethically, legally and responsibly. These are lessons well taught. And these lessons will be retained for a lifetime when as adults themselves carry ...

Iowa River at low flow rate

The IOWA RIVER is running low on water. Will it ever run dry? The answer is no. Base flow is a constant seepage of water out of adjacent flood plain soil layers. A good science lab experiment involves placing a line of water filled sponges along either side of the center line of a slightly ...

Nature’s clean-up crew in action

RECYCLING and using an item to its fullest functions is a task performed by Mother Nature’s cleanup crews every day. In the overall picture of eat or be eaten in the tooth and claw give and take of predators and prey relationships, everything gets recycled. So it is when a wild animal ...

Woodchucks prepare for long winter nap

WOODCHUCKS, also known locally as Groundhogs, are preparing for next winter. Their goal is to eat a lot of food, gain weight and gain fat reserves. Those reserves will be used to sustain its life for six months from November to next April while the critter sleeps. Not a bad plan that Mother ...

National Hunting & Fishing Day this weekend

NATIONAL HUNTING & FISHING DAY is Sept. 26, the fourth Saturday of the month. As a grassroots effort to promote the outdoor sports and conservation, it had a small start that blossomed into a national recognition day. Across the country, federal, state and local organizations host ...

Turkeys, otters, pelicans and geese

WILD TURKEYS are out and about, exploring and exploiting their forest and field habitats in a constant search for things to eat. And while doing so, they are also keeping sharp eyes on the lookout for predators that want to catch and eat them. Coyotes, foxes and bobcats are just three land ...

Prairie critters at work in Sand Prairie

The MARIETTA SAND PRAIRIE has a lot to offer at this time of year. Native grasses have now grown to full height with prominent seed heads unveiled to the wind and sky. Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) is one of today’s featured photos. This clump was over 7 feet tall as seen against a nice ...

Mother Nature’s fury

ANGER LURKS IN THE FOREST everywhere from huge tangles of fallen tree trunks and heavy branches. Straight line winds did the damage in a most awful manner. It is unfortunate. It will take a lot of time to recover from. But in the long run, safety will be restored to park areas one at a time. ...

Wildlife of all sizes

WILDLIFE OF ALL SIZES could be my theme this week. It doesn’t matter how big or large they are, or if they fly, run or crawl. All go about their duties as delegated by Mother Nature as they seek out a living in their sphere of influence. Hawks fly and by doing so overlook large expanses of ...

Colors of Summer

The MARIETTA SAND PRAIRIE is one of the botanical gems of all the land holdings managed by the Marshall County Conservation Board. It was always known as a special place with special types of native plants growing on a complex of unusual soils. In this case, the soils had a high content of fine ...