Up till this week this winter’s been almost completely warmer and drier than normal. While it’s making farmers worry about another dry growing season, a wildlife specialist with the Department of Natural Resources says this is good weather for wild things in Iowa. Terry Little says access to food is a big issue and animals can supplement their diet with waste grain from fields, with the ground clear of snow. Little says a mild winter lets more wildlife survive, and could mean a boom in the numbers of wild game animals and birds later this year.If this continues, animals that come through winter in good condition produce more young than animals that are stressed. Snow cover does leave SOME animals lacking in shelter they’re accustomed to in wintertime.Little says in northeast Iowa the ruffed grouse likes a little more snow, but access to food is the “engine that keeps them all warm” and is most important. Little says predators like hawks can spot and eat more mice, small birds and other prey than in a year when they have snow to hide in.
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