Upland Bird Report/July ’14

I went out yesterday morning to see what the new bird hatch looked like for the upcoming season.  Coming off a few years of drought and even more hunting pressure than ever before, I was skeptical  of rebounding numbers for Hungarian Partridge, sharptail grouse, and  pheasant.  While we have had a large water year, it rained  through a critical window of hatching, June 8-June 20, and  I wondered if hens on the nests took a beating. It appears that there is an abundance of prairie grasses, good numbers of bugs, and abundant water in the coulees.  From what I have gathered from farmers, the rain got to saturation levels in the last few days of rain and began to run off.  This means in laymen’s terms that the underground aquifers have filled to capacity and that adequate water is available through the late summer and early fall.  Now what about the birds? In a one hour circle of one piece of property that held virtually no Huns at season end, and only two coveys last year,  I found two coveys of Huns, a sixteen bird group and a couple of stragglers from another covey.  This was in an area that for twenty years held from 6 yo 10 coveys every year.  Last year was a twenty year low and I was concerned about long term sustainability.  The size of the one covey and the placement of the other one was a positive note in that it was in a small area. In addition to the Huns, we found three coveys of Sharptail, all with new birds, so in retrospect, it seems like a good hatch year with healthy birds that hatched on time.  We did not see any pheasants but avoided a prime seep area in good cover that always holds pheasants.  My opinion is that the huns and sharptail hatched right on time and that the pheasants hatched two weeks late.  This has been verified by  farmers who are cutting hay a little later than normal and have seen baby birds as they were swathing. There is a  ton of cover out there and all is well for now.  Grasshopper populations will feed the coveys and  natural predation will diminish the size of the coveys as September approaches.  This micro climate report only deals with the Great Falls area of Montana, but I have heard that central Montana also is looking good.  Check back with me later for more accurate reporting on the poetfool. com and enlighten your self to the possibility of a new information source on many different subjects.  Also go to my other website,  which is entirely dog related for more concise information.  Look at Square Butte News for  outdoor stuff, hasta la vista compadres.

Categories: Dogs

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