Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tickets: Adults $11, Child (3-12 yrs) $6
6 June 2011 – 10 June 2011
It was an extremely hot start to the week. I was starting work as early as I could (ie sunrise) in order to finish my work before the heat of the day arrived. The bugs also started coming out in force causing my face and neck to become a food supply for the swarms of biting flies and mosquitoes. My only saving grace was the wind, giving me a breeze to take away some of the heat and forcing the bugs to lay low. After a few rain showers and thunderstorms midweek, it started to cool down.
Unfortunately, two weeks into the second survey, my supervisors and I decided that the data we were gathering wasn’t giving us the information that we need. So we halted the data collection and started to brainstorm some new ideas about what data needs to be collected and how to go about collecting it. After a couple days of thinking a new protocol has been written and hopefully a return to the field will follow early next week.
I heard a rustling of grass and shrubs in the early Monday morning dew and being a curious person, started to investigate. To my shock and horror I kicked out skunk. Fortunately, I managed to escape without being sprayed. On Wednesday I heard a bunch of squeaking at my feet. After a couple of seconds of searching I found a nest of baby mice. Once I uncovered the nest, the poor little guys tried to scurry blindly away from the unknown danger.
Thanks for the great questions. Baby mice are blind for about the first two weeks of their life. Depending on the species some will follow their mother around being led by a series of squeaks or by creating a chain, holding on to one another’s tail. Others, like the species in the picture, which is a common deer mouse, stay in a nest until they gain their eyesight. After I found the nest and took the photo I returned the baby mouse to its nest and covered it back up. My position is one of little to no impact, especially since most of my surveys take place on private property, so no matter what I see, even if it invasive, I take no action against it. However, if I do find an invasive species, I will take a GPS coordinate and report it to the local DNR office. Mice, while not being a favorite animal to people, are an extremely important part to the ecosystem. They provide a food source to all predators and are actually the main food source for animals such as coyotes, fox, red-tailed hawks and short-eared owls. Mice can also help to pollinate plants and transport seeds creating a healthy environment. The purple flower is called a Crown Vetch. It is actually an invasive species of plant that grows in thick groups and can choke out the native plants. Because of the way it grows it is hard for animals to move through it, especially the Prairie Chicken, and provides little food source for herbivores. This is one of those situations that I reported it to the DNR. However, with it being on private land there is little that can actually be done. Thanks again for your wonderful questions. It is nice to know that someone is reading my blog. If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to ask. Sincerely, Chris Hansen
Chris Hansen | Jul 12, 2011 10:12 AM
I have two questions: 1) How long do baby mice have their eyes closed?? Since mice are few peoples favorites, what did you do with these babies after you found them & took one's picture?? 2) What is name of the purple blooming flower @ your site w/ the white daisy and brown-eyed susan??? THANKS
Linda O. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Jun 15, 2011 5:17 PM