I seen my first and only brood on June 15th (chicks looked to be two weeks old at the time). I don't travel gravel too often so that doesn't carry much weight. On a positive note I travel Hwy 20 from the Mississippi to the Missouri weekly and seen an encouraging number of birds this spring and early summer. I think too many think we had a tough and long winter. Honestly most of the state didn't get hit with heavy snow fall until the third week of January. And yes, February had some record setting snow fall but the ground was only covered on and off for 6-7 weeks in most parts. The late heavy winter had potential to be devastating but I believe the birds got the break they needed at the right time. Also, this spring has been decent thus far (for the hatch). Statewide planting average is two weeks later than last year so that should push the harvest back. Lets hope this is the third year in a row the arrow is pointing up!
I cut hay this week. I always take first cutting mid July to allow the hatches to take place, all species. Quality suffers more than quantity in the hay, but grass is more forgiving. I was disappointed in the numbers I saw while cutting. Didn’t get any hens however.
This morning I went around the fence rows to spray some thistles and wow, what a surprise. I leave a good margin around the fields, main reason being it lessens the chance of getting an antler in a tractor tire. This congregates the birds until the hay regrows and I saw three times the individuals I did when I cut it. All the way from half grown to just hatched.
My expectations of fall birds has increased dramatically.
Thanks McFarmer! I heard from local hay cutters that there were good bird numbers in central/northcentral Ia. this summer. I drove 80 miles of gravel at dusk in two days and saw 0. Maybe they were in the fence lines as well!