Blog

10 monarch butterfly questions answered

Photo of a female monarch butterfly

We get a lot of questions at the Dickinson County Nature Center, and a lot of them have to do with butterflies and bees. Let’s take a look at some of our most commonly asked questions about monarch butterflies. How long do monarch butterflies live? A monarch is in the egg stage for three-five days,…

Read More

House sparrows and how to deal with them

Photo of a house sparrow

House sparrows are jerks. There, I said it. These pesky birds were introduced to the U.S. in 1851 and spread rapidly throughout the country. They are now common across all of North America, except Alaska. House sparrows nest in natural and artificial cavities, and they will also compete for nesting boxes. The issues come when…

Read More

Red, white and blue flowers

Photo of royal catchfly

Adding flags is not the only way to make your garden patriotic. Red, white and blue — plenty of native, pollinator-friendly options exist to add some Americana to your landscape. Royal catchfly (Silene regia) The avian courtyard at the Dickinson County Nature Center features royal catchfly, and its tiny, red blooms draw in many flitting,…

Read More

Pollinator myths and misconceptions

Pollinators are a huge topic of conversation in conservation today, and that’s why we have added the Pollinator Paradise addition to the Dickinson County Nature Center. As we enter into discussions about pollinators, we hear a lot of myths and misconceptions. Let’s take a look at a few. 1. I don’t want bees in the…

Read More

Five answers to questions about wood ticks

Photo of a wood tick

A hard shell, long legs, a bad reputation. Know what I’m talking about? It’s the wood tick (Dermacentor variabilis), or American dog tick! More than a dozen tick species can be found throughout Iowa, but the most common is the wood tick. Iowa State University Extension & Outreach has a great publication on wood ticks,…

Read More

5 fun moth facts

Photo of a hummingbird moth

Butterflies definitely seem to be more popular than moths, but moths are actually more populous than butterflies. In the United States, there are about 750 species of butterflies and 11,000 species of moths. (Can you tell the difference between butterflies and moths?) Many people don’t know much about moths, other than they are nocturnal and…

Read More

10 surprisingly not-so-good plants for your garden

Photo of a chrysanthemum

Often, we think if a plant is pretty, has flowers and is colorful, it’s great for the garden. We often assume it’s also great for pollinators. Flowers have pollen and nectar, right? So it must be good for pollinators. However, there are some plants that are surprisingly not-so-good for pollinators. It could simply have nothing…

Read More

Your mosquito questions answered

Photo of a tiger mosquito

The bane of summer — the mosquito. We all love nice weather, but no one loves this little annoyances that seem to love the heat as well. You probably have plenty of questions, so we’re here to answer just a few. Why do mosquitoes bite? Female mosquitoes bite and take blood, whereas males survive on…

Read More

Quick guide to finding a baby animal: Part II

Photo of ducklings in the grass

People are generally so kind-hearted when it comes to baby animals. You might see a group of ducklings walking around without an adult and just want to help them, out of the goodness of your heart. We love that people want to help animals, but often the best thing to do is leave wildlife alone.…

Read More

Prairie plant roots help water quality

Photo of butterfly milkweed root drawing

Native prairie plants make wonderful habitat for wildlife like voles, turkeys, rabbits, ground squirrels, hawks and foxes. They provide both habitat and food sources for tiny creatures such as monarch butterflies, bumblebees and milkweed beetles. They are beautiful to look at. However, they are also important in a way that we can’t see. Deep down…

Read More