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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.

May 10

Urban Wildlife

Posted on May 10, 2021 at 9:03 AM by Erica Place

Some birds and animals have always found humans to be good neighbors - whether people wanted them around or not. Birds like robins are welcomed near our homes, while English sparrows and starlings are not so popular. Urban squirrels are often entertaining and generally tolerated, if not liked. Mice and rats have been attracted to human development for thousands of years, and have been hated just as long. Some new wildlife species have joined us in town in the last 50 years that are a bit surprising, given their long-assumed wild nature.

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May 03

Swallows – Beneficial and Beautiful

Posted on May 3, 2021 at 7:22 AM by Erica Place

Swallows may be one of my favorite families of birds. Most are beautifully colored with iridescent blue, green, or purple. Some are trimmed with glistening white or orange. All are wonderful fliers that swoop and wheel gracefully about the sky as they hunt for flying insects, their primary food. Several species seem to prefer or even depend on human-made structures for their nesting sites. Most drink on the wing by skimming just over the water. They bathe the same way, but actually splash on the water like a skipping stone and keep right on flying.

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Apr 26

A Day In The Woods

Posted on April 26, 2021 at 4:04 PM by Erica Place

I arrived at my wife’s family farm in Floyd County in mid afternoon on April 15 with a second season turkey license in hand. Second season ran from the 16th through the 20th, and I wanted to look things over in daylight before deciding where to set up in the morning. Three strutting gobblers, mature male turkeys known as toms, were spotted at the edge of a nearby corn field before they noticed me. I took that as a very good sign. I watched them through binoculars for a few minutes, and quietly backed away without disturbing their spring display. An pine plantation between the toms and their suspected night roost in some old oaks looked like a good spot to build a little blind. It consisted of brush and pieces of camouflaged burlap. Only my head would be exposed, and that would be covered with a camouflaged face mask and hat. Turkeys have extremely good vision and can detect even small movements. Sitting very still on the ground for long periods is hard on the old back even with a tree to lean against! The blind allowed at least careful movement like stretching a leg, reaching for a turkey call, the coffee thermos, or a snack. 

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