Conservation Success Stories: Part 3

Cover - Conserving Critters
Wild Turkey

Eastern Turkey

Success Scoop:

Folks at the National Wild Turkey Federation and other conservationists have helped increase the places in east Texas where these big birds roam. While we still don't have many of them in our state, things are looking up for these plump birds.

Science Scoop:
  • We call a grown-up male turkey a "tom" and a teenage male a "jake."
  • Only male turkeys gobble (they especially love to gobble at thunder!).
  • Turkeys spend nights up in trees and days on the ground.
Bighorn Sheep

Desert Bighorn Sheep:

Success Scoop:

Work began in the 1950s to conserve desert bighorn sheep in Texas. Since then, a lot of people have worked really hard, and finally these majestic animals are doing okay. Recently, 46 of them moved to a new home at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Big Bend Ranch State Park used to be their habitat a long time ago and now they are getting to return to it. That's a big time conservation success story!

Science Scoop:
  • Ka-Bam! Two males might do head-to-head combat for hours to decide which one gets the attention of a female.
  • The males are called "rams" and their horns can weigh as much as 30 lbs. (Horns aren't shed like antlers.)
  • Nature gave desert bighorn sheep super duper eyesight to help them navigate dangerous rocky cliffs.
Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Success Scoop:

These raptors became an endangered species in Texas in 1974. We almost lost these awesome Texas flyers because of DDT, the same pesticide that caused bald eagles problems. DDT also made the shells of these birds too thin and often the babies did not hatch. Other times, the DDT made the birds sick and they just didn't lay eggs at all. Today, their status has been improved to "threatened."

Science Scoop:
  • These amazing birds can fly 60 miles per hour and dive downward at 200 m.p.h.!
  • No wonder they're famous as the fastest animal in the world!
  • When a baby Peregrine falcon is 3 weeks old it's 10 times bigger than when it was born!


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