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Naturally Speaking with Steve Lekwa

An insightful and informed view on wildlife and the environment from former Story County Conservation Director Steve Lekwa.

Mar 08

The Big Thaw

Posted on March 8, 2021 at 7:38 AM by Erica Place

Snow cover in the yard west of our house was undisturbed for weeks other than by a few passing squirrels, rabbits, and deer. There’s a wet swale through the middle of that yard that funnels a lot of runoff to a culvert intake near the street. A portion of the swale was often too wet to mow. I followed nature’s suggestion and planted wet-soil tolerant flowers there. It’s kind of a rough and wild little area now, but something pretty is in bloom there most of the time from spring to early fall.

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Mar 01

Tree Planting Time Not Far Away

Posted on March 1, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Erica Place

Spring 2021 will be one of the most important tree planting seasons in years, thanks to last year’s derecho storm that destroyed trees across a wide swath of the state. A few trees were planted last fall, but many people were still cleaning up storm damage as winter settled in. Winter brought ice storm damage to trees in some areas, as well.

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Feb 22


Posted on February 22, 2021 at 8:08 AM by Erica Place

Several large raptors were seen in what appeared to be hovering flight as we recently drove across eastern Iowa on I-80. A few birds such as humming birds and kingfishers routinely hover in one spot even in calm air. Some other songbirds can hover briefly, but it costs them too much energy to hold for long. The hawks I saw weren’t actually hovering, but were doing something called kiting. They were actually flapping and gliding forward into the wind, but controlling their airspeed and altitude to stay over one spot. Kiting allows them more time to watch for movement of any possible prey.

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