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MeekAndMild
January 21, 2005, 11:45 PM
I pulled this list of articles off the internet for Jan to try to illustrate why animal populations fluctuate from year to year in a healthy ecosystem. Needless to say, overpopulated critters in the US like whitetail deer, coyotes and feral cats. The predators who cull their populations are sitting down on the job and need to work harder.

http://classes.entom.wsu.edu/529/Dynamics.htm
http://www.ento.vt.edu/~sharov/PopEcol/
http://users.utu.fi/ekorpi/Hanski_etal_predation_Ecol-01.pdf
http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/mat/ekolo/vk/sundell/volepopu.pdf

impact
January 22, 2005, 12:50 AM
do you hunt much? Sometimes you gota becarful of what you read!

MeekAndMild
January 22, 2005, 04:45 PM
I don't hunt enough. But I've helped eliminate feral cats in my corner of the world, have a freezer full of deer meat and am working up to learning coyote hunting when deer season ends if I can I manage to pare down my work obligations. I'd be out hunting today were I not required to stay by the phone this weekend.

Actually, when her thread was closed Jan sent me a PM about her pet predators so I pulled down some citations for her. Then I decided I didn't want to just leave them alone so I posted them.

You will notice that from year to year there are huge fluctuations of the acorn crop which influence fluctuations of the squirrel population which in turn change the hawk population. This is nature. But since mankind has neglected his role as a predator some populations are skyrocketing. I can predict nothing but damage to the ecosystem now that the Brits have banned the fox hunting which has been going on steadily since pre-Roman times, especially since some misguided people have taken to feeding them.

impact
January 24, 2005, 12:38 AM
I can talk about this issue all night! It's late and I need to get some sleep! I can talk more tue night. From spending many days out in the woods I learned that most often when we try to make things better! We make them worse! The best thing most of the time is to let things happen and learn. I don't like the phrase Mother Earth! The giver of life! Most people don't understand for every life something must die for that life to go on! In other words! you don't get something from nothing. Thats just the way it is! By the way. Owls will kill and eat wild cats. See what I'm getting at here. you took an owls dinner away and maybe the chance for more owls next year.

But all in all we are the only species that puts meaning to life.

Lawyer Daggit
January 24, 2005, 02:00 AM
I agree to some extent, problem in my neck of the woods (East Coast Australia) is that feral cats have gone berserk and are decimating local populations of marsupial animals.

Natural ecosystems balance themselves beautifully, but now in the US, courtesy of improved pasture etc I understand you have far more whitetail deer than at the time of white settlement. We have the same problem with Kangaroos- greenies may tell you that they are endangered but this is crap- I live within sight of our national parliament and I can see a paddock full of them as I write.

Man has altered a lot of nature and must replace many natural preditors.

Problem with most environmental groups these days is that they have been infiltrated by animal rights activists.

MeekAndMild
January 24, 2005, 07:43 PM
Sorry to diasgree but owls primarily eat rodents. You'd have to get a pretty big owl to eat a full sized cat.

Lawyer Daggit, I heard a big problem in your country was cane frogs, or is that more on the north coast? I heard a funny story about kangaroos. Supposedly the first white guy who saw one asked a black guy that it was. The reply was kangaroo, which translated means "I don't know". :D

kjm
January 24, 2005, 09:02 PM
Lawyer Daggit,
I've been lucky enough to be paid to kill feral cats and I can say that only feral hog hunting brings me more joy! Here's some tips (you probably already know this but in case you dont): Use standard velocity .22, not high velocity. I find that their skulls are quite thick and they possess a slope that makes ricochets likely. Also- neck shots work great on cats.

Man- it just makes me smile to think of shooting cats!!!

Art Eatman
January 24, 2005, 11:54 PM
The "runtification" of the central Texas deer herds began long before Ingrid Newkirk came to the U.S. to start PETA. Ranchers died and the heir split up the land into smaller tracts. Then, further sub-division occurred with the spread of "ranchettes" and exurban residences. Many people would put out just enough feed to attract the deer, without it being enough to help support the herd as it grew in the absence of hunting: "Oh, I don't want to shoot them; I love to watch them." So, outstripping the carrying capacity of the land, the average size notably declined.

In my desert area, the most visible rise-and-fall of populations is with the blue quail and with jackrabbits. While predation is a factor, rainfall and thus food is a primary control. Over a couple of decades it's easy enough to keep a fair track of cycles and lag times for the mice, cottontail and jackrabbits and coyotes. Bobcats are a much less common predator, although I have a couple hanging around my place.

We also get hawks wintering in our area, notably the redtail; there is the occasional golden eagle. These work over the small critters fairly busily.

:), Art

impact
January 25, 2005, 11:26 PM
MeekandMild! I saw a owl get a cat! So don't tell me they can't. I was at a construction yard ane night after work enjoying the cool night air. This place had a cat problem. I saw a owl about 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall standing on top of a crane boom. There was this dumpster at one end of the yard. I saw a cat moving in the direction of the dumpster. The next thing I see is this big owl come from behind the cat and nail it. The cat didn't stand a chance. About two days later I saw the same owl (so it looked like) standing on the same crane boom. I did see two at the same time so I think they were a nesting pair?

MeekAndMild
January 26, 2005, 07:23 PM
Well good for your owl! The more feral cats eaten the better! I didn't say they CAN'T eat cats; I said that they primarilty eat rodents and that's a big difference. (They primaily eat rodents, but they sometimes get my guinea hens as well as your cats.)

Spent some time in college picking through the pellets they barf up counting rodent bones so I know a little bit about what I'm talking about too. ;) Sure they will eat whatever they can get, but they can usually get a lot more forest critters than cats and guineas.

Offhand do you remember if your owl had big points on the top of its head that looked like Spock's ears or horns? Or was the top of its head round with a fringe of feathers kind of like a leprachaun's beard? Also was it browninsh or more cream colored, grey or white? Spots, stripes or blotches of color?

http://www.cdli.ca/CITE/owls_species.htm

impact
January 26, 2005, 10:12 PM
Yah it kinda looked like it had spocks ears. There is also some other smaller owls that have a white face that I would see from time to time fling around. The owls at the construction yard were the biggest owls I have ever seen. Many years ago I did lots of rabbit hunting at night and from time to time I would see the same big owls on top of a power poles. One of my buddies said it is the Great Horned owl? There is lots to see here in Texas but the best time is at night.

MeekAndMild
January 27, 2005, 03:11 PM
Probably a great horned owl. The barn owl is only slightly smaller. In the deep south east of the Mississippi probably our most commonly heard one is the barred owl, also known as an eight-hooter owl. It is smaller, about the size of a barn owl, and looks sort of like a barn owl wearing a ghillie suit. I've only seen one in the wild, in fact just this week and it blended right in to the trees at dusk. But you can tell it because it hoots eight times, no kidding. Horned owl sounds more like the classic "Who? Who? Who, who?" Horned owl is seen much more often. I guess when you're big enough to fly off with a half grown guinea you don't have to hide in the woods.

Back about populations I think it is really funny that after all the stir the tree huggers made for so many years about the spotted owl, the spotted owls are being destroyed, not by loggers but by barred owls. Idiots chaining themselves to trees and other nonsense, then as soon as their backs are turned the barred owls come in and take over! HAR! :D