Nature Conservancy

William Majoros / Creative Commons

Scientists in Wichita who’ve been studying the feathers of a small bird called the dark-eyed junco have come across something interesting, and possibly troublesome. The Wichita Eagle reports that scientists found pathogens resting in the birds’ belly feathers. This might not necessarily be a concern normally, but here’s where things get interesting:   The winter habitat of juncos is being degraded. Intensified agriculture is causing the birds to choose less than optimal habitats.

J.N. Stuart/Flickr Commons

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days. This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble. Ecologists say without dramatic changes to how we manage land, vast swathes of grassland are at risk of turning into hard-packed desert. To make sure that doesn’t happen, researchers are testing out innovative ways to keep moisture in the soil.

In eastern Colorado, one way could be in the plodding hooves of cattle.

Conventional wisdom tells you, if ranchland ground has less grass, the problem is too many cows. But that’s not always the case. It depends on how you manage them, if you make sure they keep moving.

Maverick Ranch in SE Colo. sells for $8.3M

Oct 16, 2012

The Colorado Nature Conservancy has purchased the 33,000-acre Maverick Ranch just south of La Junta for $8.3 million.