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Outdoors Today

Big rodents make Green Castle home

THE BEAVER (Castdor canadensis) is one animal of our natural world that many people never see. Active at night, they may work overtime to build small or medium log, stick and mud dams across area creeks or small streams. Behind those impoundments of shallow water, an area creek can be ...

Big beasts — past and present

BISON are big, no matter if they are the modern day species we may be familiar with, or ancient and now extinct bison relatives from times long ago. If local folks are interested in seeing living bison this option is easy. Just travel to Green Castle Recreation Area one mile south of Ferguson. ...

Wonderful wood ducks

WOOD DUCKS are the featured creature to begin our weekly journey into nature and natural happenings. Spring time sees the return of many birds, wood ducks among them. They like water in small creeks, ponds, the Iowa River, or its backwaters or larger lakes. However, these birds select woodland ...

Gobbler gear up time

GOBBLING TURKEYS may be one of the neatest sounds a hunter wants to hear Monday morning, April 12th, the beginning of season one for Iowa’s big wild and hard to get game bird. Last year Iowa hunters of wild turkeys killed 14,671 bearded birds. Marshall County hunters took about 115 turkeys ...

Heron rookery active again

GREAT BLUE HERONS (Ardea herodias) are very interested at this time of year in catching foods and building nests. Instead of having a single isolated nest high in a tree, this heron species likes the company of many. Some places in North America have documented more than 100 nests in a ...

Iowa wildlife sightings flourish

SPRING WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS continue as the month of March marches onward toward April. Skies overhead may be filled with birds of all different sizes, calling to each other as big skeins of geese move north. Sandhill Cranes voice their throaty twitter that resonates long distances. Red-winged ...

Fish become more active in Spring

SPRING officially arrived on March 20th. Warmer weather, at least by comparison to normal winter air and snowy conditions, means lots of natural happenings will be begin their slow warm up, wake up, and show increased activity. Catfish are just one aquatic species to respond to a new ...

Signs of spring approaching

EAGLE WATCHING never gets old. These majestic raptor birds are big and their full white head and tail feathers make a distinct contrast of color to their dark brown to blackish body plumage. An adult eagle’s large and powerful beak is yellow in color. It is used to cut like a knife to break ...

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 ...