Are You Guilty of Recreational Mowing?
Staff are reporting that they have already heard quail whistling this spring. So the peak of the bobwhite breeding and nesting period is fast approaching. Quail typically initiate nests from May through September, so any kind of unnecessary mowing could destroy nests or broods. The peak of nesting occurs through July 15. With another smaller peak in August.
Some of us just might be genetically programmed to hop on a tractor and mow! Recreational mowing is any kind of mowing that is primarily for appearances. Most landowners start recreational mowing in June or July during the peak of the bobwhite and pheasant nesting season. In a good conservation effort, landowners will often mow around a quail or turkey nest. Rarely do the birds return.
Look at a recently mowed field and there are not many places for a covey to hide. It’s pretty easy to see why mowing entire fields is tough on wildlife, especially bobwhites. During the spring and summer, mowing field edges can kill a devoted quail on the nest or even a fleeing brood of young birds. During the fall and winter, the mowed area will make quail vulnerable to predators as the covey moves back and forth from covey headquarters to either feeding or roosting sites. Conditions can be exaggerated during periods of ice and snow since cover is often degraded during these critical times. Remember that our studies show that quail rarely venture more than 70 feet from woody cover so mowing along woody cover destroys some of the most productive space for bobwhites.