Alabama Cougars: Sorting Fact From Fiction

Across the eastern united states, there are frequently reports of cougar sightings in areas where the big cat is thought to no longer exist. Alabama is no different, and wildlife officials regularly receive calls and e-mails about cougars seen in the state. However, there has not been a reliable, verified sighting in Alabama in over 50 years. is there really a population of these big cats roaming the wilderness of Alabama, or is it all just a myth?

Alligators

The American alligator is the most common of two crocodilians native to the United States and is one of 22 crocodilian species worldwide.

American Alligator

A member of the crocodile family, the American alligator is a living fossil from the Age of Reptiles, having survived on earth for 200 million years.

Aquatic Furbearers Biology & Management

South Carolina’s furbearers are a diverse group of 14 species that have been or are currently valued for their pelts, which in the past have been used for making clothing or felt. Most people prize the opportunity to observe a mink, fox, beaver, or any other furbearer in the wild, and trappers, hunters, and photographers spend many hours pursuing these elusive creatures.

Attracting Doves Legally

Planting and cultivating dove fields is a popular and successful technique used by sportsmen, landowners, and land managers to attract and concentrate doves. Careful planning is essential to producing a successful and legal dove field.

Backyard Wildlife Enhancement

The first step in enhancing a backyard habitat for wildlife is to assess your yard or outdoor areas as they are right now, identifying habitat elements that already exist for wildlife. Some plants that provide seeds, fruits, and nuts are important to many species of wildlife. A dense shrubbery area or stand of evergreens will provide cover for many animals, and protection from wind and predators.

Bald Eagle

The bald eagle is truly an all-American bird. It ranges over most of the continent, from the northern reaches of Alaska and Canada down to northern Mexico. While our national symbol was in danger of extinction throughout most of its range 30 years ago, the bald eagle has made a tremendous comeback, its populations greatly improving in numbers, productivity, and security in recent years.

Bats

People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the bats they once persecuted. Increased pesticide use, the loss of roosting and foraging habitat has resulted in the current decline of many bat species. North Carolina supports 16 species of bats, including three federally listed as endangered. This publication provides information about bats, their benefits, and steps to encourage bats on private lands.

Beaver Control in Alabama

In the 1930s, beaver population in Alabama were reduced to about 500 animals as a result of trapping, hunting, and the demand for fur. Stocking of beaver in suitable habitats, low fur prices, and a reduction in trapping presure have resulted in an increased beaver population throughout the Southeast. Today, beaver are plentiful in Alabama and beaver swamps may be seen even in suburban areas of the state.

Biology & Management of Eastern Wild Turkey

Prior to and during early colonial times, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) occurred in large numbers over most of South. As settlement increased, detrimental land-use practices and market hunting resulted in the near extinction of the wild turkey. Because of the aggressive trapping and restocking efforts by state wildlife agencies, wild turkey populations have reached historical high levels in most states, including South Carolina.

Bird Feeding: Backyard Habitat for Wildlife

Feeding birds in the spring and summer months can bring particular excitement. Many new species may frequent your feeder. In this publication are some hints for increasing the numbers of avian visitors.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush?

You know the old saying. Well, believe it or not, you too can have a bird in the hand! All it takes is patience, persistence, and well, MORE patience. If you regularly feed birds in your backyard, you might want to try getting to know some of them up close and personal. The songbirds in your backyard can soon be landing on your shoulder and eating nuts and seeds straight from your hand this winter!

Black Bear

Black bears are present in the southern Appalachian Mountains and the coastal bays and swamps of North Carolina. The best habitat is provided in old forests dominated by hardwoods containing a variety of mast-producing tree and shrub species. Bears typically require extensive, rugged country with dense thickets, swamps, bays, or rock outcrops, and room to travel widely with little contact with agriculture or livestock production areas. Bears occasionally will cause damage in livestock operations, apple orchards, cornfields or by feeding on the inner bark of some desired tree species.

Bobwhite Quail

Bobwhite Quail (Northern Bobwhite) is a popular game bird. Good habitat requires an interspersion or mixture of woodlands, brush, grass, and croplands. Quail are social birds that gather in groups called “coveys.” As many as 10 to 30 birds may form a covey in which they forage and roost closely together.

Bobwhite Quail Biology and Management

The bobwhite quail has long been considered the game bird of the South, and South Carolina’s past quail population has made it known as one of the best quail states.is destroyed or abandoned prior to hatching, they will attempt to renest until a successful hatch or until the nesting season is over.

Building Songbird Boxes

Building songbird boxes is a simple, inexpensive way to attract songbirds to your property. This fact sheet discusses how to build, install, and maintain nest boxes successfully.

Cavity-Nesting Birds of North American Forests

Habitat, cavity requirements, and foods are described for 85 species of birds that nest in cavities in dead or decadent trees. Intensive removal of such trees would disastrously affect breeding habitat for many of these birds that help control destructive forest insects. Birds are illustrated in color; distributions are mapped.

Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontails live throughout the South from bottomlands and marshes to the highest mountain balds. They thrive in openings wherever shrubs, grasses, and forbs dominate. Cottontails are commonly found in old homesites, abandoned orchards, broom sedge fields, sumac patches, honeysuckle thickets, and brush piles.

Cottontail Rabbit Biology and Management

The cottontail rabbit is one game species familiar to virtually everyone. Its requirements for life are relatively simple and this, coupled with a high reproductive capacity, enables it to hold the title of the most important game animal in North America.

Developing Wildlife-Friendly Pine Plantations

Wildlife benefit landowners in many ways. Some people enjoy luring deer, rabbits, turkey, and bobwhite quail to their property. Some like to hunt game. Others simply enjoy watching the animals in their natural habitats. When it comes to attracting wildlife, the owners of pine plantations have a special challenge. Without proper management, most plantations lose much of their plant and animal diversity as they age.

Developing a Wildlife Management Plan

Who would consider building a house without a blueprint or taking a trip without a road map? Land managers and landowners who are successful at managing wildlife carefully plan and target management activities to accomplish their objectives, minimize expenses, and ensure the long-term productivity of their property for wildlife and other resources. Wildlife management plans are simply written guides for how, when, and where to implement habitat improvement practices. Developing a management plan yourself, or contracting a natural resource professional to develop a plan for forest or farm land, is a wise investment of time and money.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

The gray squirrel thrives in both urban and rural settings. Of the seven species of squirrels native to North Carolina, the gray is the most common.

Endangered Red Wolves

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reintroducing red wolves to prevent extinction of the species and to restore the ecosystems in which red wolves once occurred, as mandated by the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Estimating Wildlife Numbers

The landscape of diverse habitats across South Carolina provides many of the survival needs of wildlife. The diversity of vegetation provides excellent cover for wildlife; however, it greatly eliminates the ability to directly count all wildlife in a given area. In addition, most wildlife species are secretive by their very nature, and usually will not not hold still long enough to be counted. Therefore, the task of determining how many wildlife are on a particular tract of land is difficult. Yet landowners most frequently ask the question: “How many deer, quail, turkey, or other wildlife do I have on my land?”

For the Birds

Among the fondest and most memorable moments of childhood are the discoveries of songbirds nesting in the backyard. The distinctive, mud-lined nests of robins and their beautiful blue eggs captivate people of all ages. Likewise, the nesting activities of house wrens, cardinals, chickadees and other common birds can stimulate a lifelong interest in nature.

Going Batty??? …What to Do About Bats in Your Belfry

Have you encountered a stray bat flying around in your house? Bats that fly into human living quarters are usually lost youngsters whose primary goal is a safe escape. They often will leave on their own if a window or door to the outside is opened while others leading to the rest of the house are closed.

Gray Squirrel Biology & Management

The gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) has been a part of South Carolina forests for thousands of years. Native Indians and early settlers used the squirrel for food and its fur. In turn, the squirrel raided cornfields and other farm crops during periods of extremely high squirrel populations when thousands of squirrels would leave their normal range and emigrate many miles in search of a new home.

Gray Wolf

Second only to humans in adapting to climate extremes, gray wolves once ranged from coast to coast and from Alaska to Mexico in North America. They were absent from the East and the Southeast, which were occupied by red wolves (Canis rufus), and from the large deserts in the southwestern States. By the early 20th century, government-sponsored predator control programs and declines in prey brought gray wolves to near extinction in the lower 48 States.

Identification of Snakes in Alabama for Forest Workers

As a forest worker in the southeast, you are likely to encounter a variety of wildlife while on the job. in Alabama, you may encounter deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, and coyotes. Another species of wildlife that you may encounter in the forest is snakes. The ability to identify snakes while in the forest — venomous, nonvenomous, and endangered snakes — is important for a number of reasons, but primarily to keep you safe on the job.

Introduction to Wildlife Management

The term wildlife means different things to different people. To a backyard wildlifer, it may mean chickadees, nuthatches, and cardinals. To a hunter, it may mean white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, and gray squirrels. To a sheep producer, it may mean coyotes. To a poultry producer, it may mean mink, weasels, skunks, and raccoons. To a gardener, it may mean hummingbirds and butterflies.

Kirtland’s Warbler

The first Kirtland’s warbler in North America was identified in 1851 from a specimen collected on Dr. Jared Kirtland’s farm near Cleveland, Ohio. Biologists did not learn where it nested until 1903 when they found a warbler nest in Michigan. Today, Kirtland’s warbler faces two significant threats: lack of crucial young jack pine forest habitat and the parasitic cowbird.

Landowner’s Guide to Wildlife Abundance Through Forestry

Your woodlands offer the promise of immediate and long-term benefits. Managed forests produce yields of timber and wildlife. Land with abundant game may be leased to hunting clubs for as much or even more than its taxes or provide the base for a hunting preserve business. Other recreation-based sources of income, such as camping or horseback riding, will be made more attractive on properties managed for wildlife. But economic considerations, though important, may not be your main reason for owning the land. To have a place where wildlife lives and can be enjoyed may be your primary desire. Land that has productive wildlife habitat is a pleasure to behold. The satisfaction of working with nature to increase wildlife abundance, and at the same time, of leaving to the next generation property of increasing economic and aesthetic values can be yours through careful but decisive management.

Learning to Live with Coyotes in Metropolitan Areas

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are 35-to-40 pound doglike mammals that have entered metropolitan areas of Virginia. Although coyotes may help reduce the numbers of other problematic animals, we must respect their wild nature while learning to co-exist with them.

Management of Bottomland Hardwood Forests in South Carolina for Wildlife Using Green Tree Reservoirs

Bottomland hardwood forests occupy the floodplains of many large and small rivers of the southeastern United States. These forests are productive systems and contain a variety of wildlife habitats. Many of these areas have been leveed and are flooded to make food, such as acorns and benthic organisms, available to waterfowl. The forested areas within the levees are called greentree reservoirs (GTRs). Flooding normally occurs during the winter dormant season and drainage when foliage begins to develop.

Managing Beaver Ponds

Once nearly eliminated in North Carolina, beavers have returned to most of the state's watersheds through 50 years of restocking. Although beavers are negatively viewed in some situations due to the flooding and girdling of trees, their presence may ultimately be beneficial. This publication reviews benefits of beavers and methods to manage and enhance beaver ponds.

Managing Lowcountry Forests for Wildlife

Many Lowcountry landowners have existing natural stands of pines, hardwoods and pine-hardwood mixtures. Most are not interested in practicing intensive, plantation-based forest management but have a keen desire to maintain existing stands and improve wildlife habitat. The following management recommendations are based on years of management activity on Lowcountry plantations that are managed primarily for wildlife with timber income of secondary importance.

Mourning Dove

Mourning doves are the most abundant game bird in the Southeast. Requiring open or semi-open lands, doves are primarily farm game birds that thrive where grain crops are grown. Doves can travel considerable distances in search of food, water, and gravel, but prefer easy access to them. Because the dove is a migratory species, local habitat conditions generally do not limit the population, nor will manipulation of the environment increase populations.

Mourning Dove Biology and Management

Pioneers settling in South Carolina during the 1600s encountered a small pigeon-like bird in and around forest openings. Although the passenger pigeon was larger and more numerous, mourning doves (Zenaidura macroura) were abundant enough to provide some source of pleasure with their low, mournful cooing and a limited amount of variety in table fare for our adventurous ancestors.

Owls

Owls are birds of prey that actively feed and hunt throughout the night and during twilight hours. Often mysterious to man, owls figure largely in myths, folklore and superstition. Their large eyes, nocturnal nature and eerie calls have led to fear and loathing by many. Owls play an important role in the balance of forest and open land environments. Much like hawks, owls prey on rodent, reptile and small game populations at night.

Pools for Amphibians

North Carolina supports the greatest diversity of amphibians in the United States, some 79 species. Amphibians include frogs, toads, and salamanders. They are unique animals that use lungs, gills, and their skin for breathing. The majority of North Carolina’s amphibians live a part of their lives in water or depend on moist environments for breeding, egg-laying, and survival. However, due to habitat losses and degradation, along with increased air and water pollution, 25% of these species are currently in various levels of decline.

Providing Habitat Needs for Wildlife Through Forest and Agricultural Management

In general, good habitat conditions for wildlife can be created while managing timber or farming operations. In some cases, no additional costs are required. Information presented here will help in planning for an integrated land management program that optimizes timber growth, crop production, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities on private land.

Raccoon

Raccoons use a wide variety of habitats, but generally prefer areas interspersed with different successional stages of growth. Bottomland hardwoods provide hard mast, insects, and aquatic animal life. Fields and open areas yield fruit, berries, insects, and occasional small mammals and reptiles. Raccoons depend on wetland and aquatic habitats for a large portion of their food and are seldom found far from water.

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

The red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) is a small bird measuring about 7 inches in length. Identifiable by its white cheek patch and black and white barred back, the males have a few red feathers, or “cockade”. These red feathers usually remain hidden underneath black feathers between the black crown and white cheek patch unless the male is disturbed or excited.

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

In the world of North American woodpeckers, red-cockaded woodpeckers stand out as an exception to the usual rules. They are the only woodpeckers to excavate nest and roost sites in living trees. Living in small family groups, red-cockaded woodpeckers are a social species, unlike others. These groups chatter and call throughout the day, using a great variety of vocalizations. And they are one of only two woodpecker species protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Ruffed Grouse

The Ruffed Grouse is a major upland game bird found primarily in the Appalachians and the Cumberland Plateau. Usually found above 2,000 feet in the southern portion of their range, they have also been found at lower elevations.

Rules, Regulations and Laws Affecting Wildlife Management

For some private forest and farm owners, complying with government mandated rules and regulations and fearing legal penalties for failure to do so can cause a good deal of anguish. In most cases, private landowners are more than willing to comply with regulations that protect their land. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of regulations, many landowners are left confused. Adding to this confusion are the continuing changes to regulations. The information presented here will address important laws that affect private landowners, agencies that administer the laws, and the responsibility of landowners under the law.

Snakes

Snakes range in size from a few inches to more than 8 feet. They cause no property damage, but seeing a snake or its shed skin may frighten some people.

Songbirds

At least 100 species of songbirds nest in the Southeast, with many additional species overwintering or passing through as migrants. Habitat requirements differ by species, and can generally be grouped into the successional stage(s) where songbirds thrive.

Tarheel Wildlife on the Farm

Includes useful tips for developing an effective small game program, including management programs for bobwhite quail and rabbits.

Terrestrial Furbearer Biology & Management

Terrestrial or upland furbearers are called terrestrial because they require some drinking water but are not associated with water as a general habitat requirement. They include species like the opossum, red or gray fox, coyote, striped or spotted skunk, long-tailed weasel, and bobcat.

Timber and Wildlife

Wildlife and timber are both products of the forest. Multiple use of forested lands can, therefore, include optimal use and sustained yield management of the wildlife resource. Southern pine forests can be managed successfully for both timber and wildlife.

Trees for Wildlife

Tennessee is blessed with an abundance of forest land which provides a diversity of wildlife habitat. These habitats are composed of numerous grasses, vines, herbs, shrubs and trees. Many species of wildlife depend on certain species or types of trees and shrubs. Wildlife use trees as a food source (fruit, bark, leaves), as winter cover, for nesting, as perches and other uses. In this publication, the authors describe management practices for Tennessee landowners to consider when managing their woodlots for wildlife and timber.

Venomous Snakes of North Carolina

Venomous snakes are part of North Carolina’s diverse fauna, and residents and visitors alike should be aware of the different species they might encounter. In the unlikely event of a bite, accurate identification of the snake responsible helps medical personnel select the most appropriate treatment.

Waterfowl Biology and Management

South Carolina provides migratory and wintering habitat for about 18-20 different North American waterfowl species which can be commonly found in the state at some period during the year. Breeding habitat is also provided for resident wood duck and geese.

White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer occupy both forest and non-forest habitat types throughout the South. Deer usually prosper following fire, timber harvest, storms, or other events which produce new vegetative growth.

White-tailed Deer Biology & Management

The flashing of a white, flag-like tail along the edge of a field and into the woods signals the presence of the most popular game animal in the South. Hunting the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana) is a form of recreation that is steeped in tradition and tremendously popular.

Wild Turkey

In the Southeast, wild turkeys require extensive forest lands. Three basic habitat types are required: 1) winter, 2) nesting, and 3) brood range. Good turkey habitat contains mature stands of mixed-hardwoods, relatively open understories, scattered clearings with distributed water, and freedom from disturbance.

Wild Turkey Harvest Management: Biology, Strategies, and Techniques

Since life began on Earth, countless creatures have come and gone, rendered extinct by naturally changing physical and biological conditions. Since extinction is part of the natural order, and if many other species remain, some people ask: “Why save endangered species? Why should we spend money and effort to conserve them? How do we benefit?”

Wild Turkey Management

The wild turkey is an important game animal in North Carolina and the Southeast. Recently, turkeys have made a comeback from low populations caused by excess hunting, habitat loss and domestic poultry diseases. Interest in wild turkey hunting also has increased accordingly during this time.

Wildlife Damage Management

Wildlife damage management, regardless of the problems species, has four basic components: 1) problem definition (identification and assessment of damage), 2) an understanding of the behavior and ecology of the problem wildlife species, 3) selection and application of control techniques, and 4) evaluation of control efforts.

Wildlife Economics

Referring to wild animals as economic commodities has created controversy among some individuals in the wildlife profession, as well as among various groups of wildlife users.

Wildlife Food Plantings

There are 3 ways that landowners, managers and sportsmen can improve the quality and availability of wildlife foods. One method includes protecting existing high value native wildlife food plants that already exist. Secondly, managers can enhance and stimulate the growth of native vegetation by mechanical (timber thinning, strip disking, mowing, prescribed burning) and chemical (herbicides, fertilizers and lime) means. A third way is to propagate desired wildlife food plants by direct seeding or seedling planting, which is often called supplemental planting with food plots.

Wildlife and Forest Stewardship

Developing forestland to continually produce timber and provide wildlife habitat requires an active management plan. Forest stewardship, the process of managing all of the forest’s natural resources together, enables us to conserve our forest resources, including timber, wildlife, soil, and water. Forestry and wildlife management are not only compatible, they are interrelated. Managing for wildlife habitat can even improve forest productivity. This publication describes the basic concepts of management, showing how forestry operations affect wildlife habitat.

Wildlife and Wildlife Management

The term wildlife means different things to different people. To a backyard wildlife enthusiast, it may mean chickadees, nuthatches, and cardinals. To a hunter, it may mean white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, and gray squirrels. To a sheep producer, it may mean coyotes. To a poultry producer, it may mean mink, weasels, skunks, and raccoons. To a gardener, it may mean hummingbirds and butterflies.

Wood Duck

Wood ducks depend upon forested wetland habitat for food and cover, although marshes are also used. Breeding range must have trees for nesting cavities and food near permanent freshwater lakes and streams. Brushy borders are important for nesting and brooding. Swampy areas with cypress and gum are premium for roosting. The best habitat contains mast-producing hardwoods that border streams and permanent fresh-water lakes. Many beaver ponds provide ideal wood duck habitat.

Narrower Topics