Delay roadside mowing until Aug. 1 for wildlife

More than 40 bird species, including pheasants, use roadsides for nesting from April to August. Delayed mowing of roadsides will be more important than normal this year as the cool, wet weather has delayed bird nesting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The late spring will likely impact pheasant nesting” said Nicole Davros, DNR research scientist and pheasant specialist.  It takes six weeks for a hen pheasant to lay eggs and hatch chicks, Davros said.  The peak hatch for pheasants is typically the third week in June, but this year there will probably be a lot of birds still nesting in July, Davros said. Chicks need to be two to three weeks old to escape mowers or other farm equipment.  By delaying roadside disturbances until Aug. 1, most nests can hatch successfully.

If landowners are worried about safety, mowing a narrow strip adjacent to their mailbox or driveway shouldn’t affect nesting hens too much, Davros said. Most pheasant hens place their nests either in the ditch bottom or along the back slope, away from the road. At sites where noxious weeds are a problem, Davros recommends spot mowing or spot spraying for treatment.

For more information, visit the DNR roadsides for wildlife webpage or contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157.

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