Two hot, dry summers in a row don’t do much good for wildlife of any species. Upland birds like pheasants, quail and prairie chickens are at the whim of Mother Nature and two years of dismal conditions don’t make for promising prospects.
The peak of wheat harvest, even delayed a week or two, can play an important factor in overall pheasant numbers. The earliest wheat harvest on record may have thrown pheasants strike three in some parts of their historical range destroying nests and young broods.
Another dagger for pheasants as a result of drought may have come in the form of emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acreage. All counties were opened to this practice and 50 percent of a field’s acreage could be hayed or all or a portion of it could be grazed at various rates.
This practice is detrimental in the short term, but many of these older stands of CRP can actually benefit from disturbance and provide better habitat conditions in the future, provided there are cooperative weather patterns.
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.