wildlife

Tree Fall

Nov 11, 2019
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Deep in the D'Arbonne Swamp just on the bayou side of Wolf Brake a giant, forked willow oak split at the confluence of the two trunks and crashed to the forest floor. Barring thunder and gunshot it was probably the loudest sound in that neck of the woods in many a year. The odds are good that no humans were around to hear it, but certainly nearby wildlife went to red alert at the first crack.

Ben Lilly

Oct 14, 2019
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

At the turn of the 20th century, Louisiana's vast natural resources in the form of virgin forests and teeming wildlife were besieged by commercial interests and others lacking environmental mores. In this state of diminishing wilderness, Ben Lilly emerged from the swamps of northeastern Louisiana to become a folk hero. His reputation as the best hunter of his day evolved as a result of his obsessive compulsion to kill bears and cougars.

Birds Usually Don't Need Your Help

Mar 26, 2019
Monica Boudreaux / Friends of Black Bayou

With the arrival of spring and summer approaching, the likelihood of crossing paths with young birds that appear to be in distress rises. While the temptation for some to scoop them up in an effort to assist the animal is there, many times what appears to be trouble is actually quite natural for fledglings. LDWF bird biologist Melissa Collins says," It is best to enjoy what you see but leave injured or orphaned birds undisturbed."

Cavity Trees

Mar 4, 2019
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

In the realm of commercial forestry, trees with holes are undesirable. They take up space where more valuable, sound trees can grow. For that reason cavity trees have been all but eliminated on millions of acres. It’s that money thing. But in southern woodlands, trees with cavities once occurred naturally at varying frequency across the landscape. Cavities form when trees are injured or diseased; animals, especially woodpeckers, excavate holes in living and dead trees. As vital components of a forest, cavity trees provide nesting, roosting, and denning habitat for many types of wildlife.

Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Alligators did not welcome the recent spate of cold weather. The least-known aspect of alligator life history involves their behavior during the winter, especially in inland swamp habitat. In general, they retreat to dens in cold weather; but they do not hibernate. Instead, they brumate, a condition when the core temperature and other physiological processes decrease, but not to the extent that occurs in true hibernation.

Antlers

Jan 3, 2019
vasse nicolas,antoine / FLICKR.COM https://tinyurl.com/y7ar8w85

Have you ever wondered why the bony appendages on a cow are called horns while those on a deer are called antlers? Find out why and learn more about antlers from Kelby Ouchley

A Louisiana professor is in heady company, honored by having one of three newly identified species of snakes from the Galapagos Islands named after him.

"They named one after Charles Darwin — that's a no-brainer — and one after the Greek god of fire, and one after me, of all people," said Robert A. Thomas , an environmental biologist and head of head of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University New Orleans.

The snake in question, a handsome critter with lengthwise brown and creamy yellow stripes, is called Pseudalsophis thomasi.

Fences

Sep 11, 2018
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

About a hundred yards north of my house in the dense woods, the remnants of an old fence can be seen running north-south over a sandy-clay hill on the edge of D'Arbonne Swamp. The forest looks the same on both sides of the rusty wire now, but it once enclosed a ten-acre field where my father chopped cotton as  a teenager. When boll weevils, armyworms, and worn out soil forced Union Parish hill-country cotton farmers to seek work in paper mills, chemical plants, and on pipelines, the field reverted to forest through natural plant succession.

 

Wild Grapes

Sep 3, 2018
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Grapes are woody vines that climb with tendrils in search of sunlight. About twenty species of native grapes are found in the eastern United States in a variety of habitats. The well-known fruits of grapes have been consumed by humans for thousands of years in some form. The famous early naturalist William Bartram described Native Americans’ use of grapes near Mobile in 1773. He wrote, “The Indians gather great quantities of them, which they prepare for bunches in the sun and air, and store them up for provision.”

Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Biologists often just call them herps, an abbreviated version of the term herpetofauna meaning the reptiles and amphibians of a specific region.  The herpetofauna of Louisiana is diverse because of our mild climate that is conducive to the well-being of cold-blooded animals and because of our great variety of habitat types, from upland forests to brackish marshes.

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