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Inside Iowa State
March 19, 1999

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Send your questions about Iowa State sites, history, policies and "things" to Ask Inside, 217 Communications, e- mail:

Q: Are there more cardinals on campus than there used to be?

A: We don't have data specifically for campus. But there has been an increasing number of overwintering cardinals, not just in Iowa, but across their range. It most likely is due to the abundance of winter bird feeding. (Americans spend $2.2 billion annually on wild bird feed.) A secondary cause is that most cities now have leash laws and enforce them. That means that the nocturnal wanderings of cats and dogs are reduced and, therefore, so is predation on birds -- especially those, like cardinals, that nest within a few feet of the ground. The trend line for Iowa from the National Breeding Bird Survey is that cardinal populations generally are increasing somewhat.

Source: Jim Pease, extension wildlife specialist

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