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Old 10-19-2009, 10:24 PM   #1
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Default West Virginia's wildlife faces winter of food shortages

West Virginia's wildlife faces winter of food shortages
By John McCoy
Staff writer
September 15, 2009

West Virginia's wildlife faces winter of food ... - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports
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"There isn't much out there for them to eat," said Randy Tucker, a biologist for the state Division of Natural Resources.
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Old 10-20-2009, 12:00 AM   #2
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Habitat destruction and our repeated irresponsible plant choices are doing in wildlife from sea to shining sea. I'm glad to see someone spelling it out.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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I wonder if this is wide spead in the east or a more local problem in West Virginia? The isolation of smaller and smaller natural areas certainly would make a year of bad fruit and nut production cause severe food shortages for many animals.
I hate reading stuff like this because it leaves me feeling so helpless.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:08 PM   #4
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bear The bigger picture

Variability in food availability is one of the factors that keeps animal populations in check. It used to work on humans, too, but "civilized" societies have so far managed to circumvent that rule. We certainly do our share to unintentionally (or not) limit wildlife populations, but a 40-year low in mast production is probably within the longer term range. I would only be concerned for endangered or threatened species. A shortage of mast was reported in Pennsylvania last year, but from what I'm seeing it seems to be better this year.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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Last year we had a very good mast year locally, but somewhat less this year it looks like (although the hickories have been most generous with their nuts this year). I expect fewer pecans, at any rate. Acorns are looking scarcer too,
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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Another very timely article to post.

We often forget how much power we have to advocate for wildlife when making ecologically responsible plant purchases. We're all in our infancy learning how to choose the best plants to help compensate for years in which fruits of some species are naturally reduced.

Audubon At Home
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Your local nursery or garden store carries a large variety of attractive plants that boast an array of desirable qualities: vibrant colors, bright green leaves, interesting shapes and textures, hardiness, evergreen growth, spectacular blooms. Most nursery plants, however, are exotic cultivars - plants that have been cultivated from species that grow naturally in other parts of the world to provide ornamental value to landscapes in North America.

What might not be immediately evident are the demands of exotic plants: high maintenance (pruning, shearing, etc), the potential to become invasive, greater dependence on water, and little or no wildlife value the food, shelter, and nesting sites provided by plants that have co-evolved with native wildlife. Native birds and wildlife have evolved to use, and often require, the resources offered by plants native to the same region.
Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping in Maryland
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Native or indigenous plants naturally occur in the region in which they evolved. They are adapted to local soil, rainfall and temperature conditions, and have developed natural defenses to many insects and diseases. Because of these traits, native plants will grow with minimal use of water, fertilizers, and pesticides. Wildlife species evolve with plants; therefore, they use native plant communities as their habitat. Using native plants helps preserve the balance and beauty of natural ecosystems.
Why Go Native?
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Would you like to have more birds and butterflies in your backyard? Native animals are best adapted to native plants for food and cover, so a well-planned landscape of native plants can help you attract more wildlife to your property.
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