Delay roadside mowing for pollinators and pheasants

Delaying roadside mowing until Aug. 1 benefits pheasants, songbirds, pollinators and more, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “With a growing concern for pollinators, we all need to do our part to protect wildflower habitat” said Carmelita Nelson, DNR prairie grassland coordinator. Roadsides with native wildflowers are especially beneficial to native bees. The loss of habitat is one of the critical causes of the decline of both wild bees and honeybees.

Roadsides also provide more than 500,000 acres of pheasant nesting areas where one-fourth to one-third are hatched. “After a difficult winter and wet spring, we are concerned about pheasant nesting this year” said Scott Roemhildt, DNR information officer. Most pheasant hens are currently sitting on nests and will hatch their broods in mid- to late June. The peak hatch time for pheasants is the third week in June, but there are still a lot of birds nesting in early July. Hens will only hatch one brood per year. 

Chicks need to be at least two to three weeks old to have any chance of escape from mowers. Roadsides are also important habitat to teal, mallards, gray partridge, many grassland songbirds, frogs and turtles.

The way roadsides are managed can influence the abundance of local wildlife populations. Roadsides should also be protected from burning, crop tillage, grazing, blanket spraying of herbicides and vehicle encroachment during these months. At sites where noxious weeds are a problem, it is recommended that landowners use spot mowing or spraying for treatment. For more information visit the DNR’s Roadsides for Wildlife website or contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 

Anoka County residents can learn more about how you can support our local pollinators by attending the Master Gardener’s program Pollinator’s Garden for a Healthy Environment (registration required) on July 9th at 7:00 pm (a Walk in the Garden series by Anoka County Master Gardeners).

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