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Honored Advisor

Wildlife plantings?

In going over plans for my farms in Virginia last uear, I consulted the forestry department and game and in,and fisheries, for suggestions. One idea was to try and boost bird populations, and some specific plantings were recommended.

By the time I got the land back out of the mining company, and got the entire written report from the agencies, it was too late in the summer fir most of the recommendations. One I really liked was for a purplish flowering shrub Lespedeza, which is established in April, by sticking live stakes into the ground.

Sat down last night and found the Virginia forestry sales website, ordered up 500 plants for delivery in mid-April. I already have ideas on where to plant them on three farms. The fourth one will wait, until the tenant is off this coming fall, unless I just spend a few dozen plants over around some of the bird strips there now.

Got a long dibble ordered off of amazon. I am thinking that this will give Winn and me something good to do around Aunt Jenna's yard, at the woods edge here near or house in Carolina, and on my poor, barren place.

Just wondered this morning: Do any of you do wildlife plantings on your farms?m

Also, while ealking the place Sunday, I kept coming across what looked a lot like dog droppings every so ofyen...but, I'd say with fur in them, which said to me the canine was consuming rabbits. I told Mike I was seeing coyote scat.

Winn and I have been finding deer poo in the yard in Virginia, too. He has a fixation on tracks and scat, which is kind of funny for such a tiny kid. We sat down with the iPad yesterday after his nap, and did a search for images of different animals' droppings.

He was intrigued, but says the picture of bunny poop is " too big, it's smaller than that." He has a bunny, so should know. We scaled the image down, and he approved. We had a kind of debate about what coyote poop should look like, before we searched for it. I explained that it would hair fur in it, because coyotes eat wild bunnies.

It is really neat to have a tool like Google to teach a kid with...we can see videos of coyotes yipping, and images of their tracks...again, a scale issue, but he is starting to get the concept of scaling photos now.

Wild turkey are maying now, of course, so we are seeing some nice gobblers about. No hunting, so they aren't afraid of us!

Does your family take special notice of the tracks and sightings of wildlife on your land?
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12 Replies
Advisor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

You can have our wildlife.  Coyotes  have pretty much destroyed the pheasants and rabbit populations.   They say to save the pheasants  we need to plant  large  wheat fields....  That way the coyotes get their eyes rubbed out by wheat stubble and leave the birds alone. 

 

Wild turkeys  scratch out planted seed... right down the row.   Ground squirrels dig up corn seeds  and eat them.    Can regularly find blank spots in fields.   DH carries a 22 on his sprayer tractor, ( no Cab),  to shoot ground squirrels.   Deer can pretty much eat the outside row/s or corn fields  surrounded by timber.    Plus,  they knock down corn later in the year.   They'll eat off soybean plants too.  Can't get any sweetcorn without  electric fences    Raccons send out scouting parties to all area plantings so they know whose is ready  when.

 

So there is absolutely no reason to provide  food plots.   In fact  the   "city farmer"  who insists on food plots,  is not appreciated around here.   Trappers and hunters are very welcome.    

Also,  wonder how  Bald Eagles fall into biosecurity plans on area hog farms  during the winter months?    Turkey Vultures rest of the year.  

And we wonder about  cougar sightings and hope to keep the wild ferral pigs out of Illinois.   Although there are reports of wild hogs 1 county away. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

We have a hawk that has swooped down & nabbed DH's favorite homing pigeons if let out at all and also took off with my favorite banty chickens.  They were so sweet.  Just a little diversion.  It sits in the tree like a king.  At least for now.

 

Coyotes are terrible here.  DS traps them but they just keep coming.  Wake you up & they sound so close.  We keep the lambs penned up and chickens locked at night or we would have nothing here.

 

We raised quail for several years and let so many loose every year.  But there are none to be found here and pheasants are not as populated as they once were.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

You can really tell it's been decades since we raised any crop but hay, I guess....

I forget how Mike used to stalk the eily groundhog that gobbled down row after row of doybeans. There was a spot the size of a house of uprooted peanut vines in the field where oyr rast set of buildings sits, when we were laying out the farm.

I was warned that there's a huge pack of coyote on my farms, and with as much scat as I was stumbling across on Sunday, that seems possible. Not a place to go puttering around after dark, then.
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Honored Advisor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

When we were kids, there were bobwhite quail everywhere. I never remember hearing that a coyote was ever even sighted by hunters.

Something changed as we got the be grown...I don't know if it was that there were fewer field edges, as fencelines got taken out everywhere...the Earl Butz era, I guess. There was just less and less cover and maybe chemicals killed so many of the insects the birds feed on, too. You just didn't see pthem nearly as much anymore.

Then, people started managing for quail, and places like my little farm seem to have quite a lot of them.

Right now, I want to start stocking the bigond the mining company left behind, at my request. It had been stocked by my father, then they drained it and mined the dam, enlarged at my request when they reimpounded the water.

It is a very pretty spot, with pines on its upper side, the old oaks and wetland stuff on the lower edge, with another, older pond nestled in what was a curve, before they moved the county road to mine under it. I want to try establishing some birds on it, and it has a couple of tiny islands out far enough to protect them from predators. I would just love to see swan out there....
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Veteran Contributor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

I do plantings to attract bees and birds.  I, too, enjoy seeing the tracks the animals leave behind and have a field camera, but about all I ever manage to catch on it are turkeys, cats, and myself.  We don't have a lot of turkeys here, but I know they do like to pick up the seed.  But, when there is a grasshopper invasion, they sure earn their keep.  I enjoy seeing them walking abreast and picking grasshoppers as fast as they can.   

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Honored Advisor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

I recall learning somewhere that turkey like insects for their young...something about the protein levels or something. Makes sense....

I remember one day watching a big flck of robins walking along rows or a new forage planting, pecking bugs off. I looked for all the world like a crew of fieldhands working a stand to clear ot of weeds. They really fllowed the rows that strictly.

Plantings for butterflies get a lot of print, too. I just let milkweed grow wherever ot will, for the monarch caterpillars.

Enjoy your nature walks, and eatch out for those wild cats!
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Senior Contributor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

We've done food plots in the past but nothing lately.  We have wildlife all over the place here.  Coyotes are plentiful to say the least.  I'm hoping that momma fox will den up in the yard again this year...those little kits are so cute and have fun playing in the horse pasture.  Grouse and partridge are making a come back and deer all over the place.  We do not have any wild Turkeys right around our place but they are plentiful along the river bottoms.  We see the occasional Moose and Elk depending on where we are at. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

Two years ago two baby foxes were born in an old ground hog hole here. They were the cutest things, of course they did not stay long. I saw bluebirds yesterday and I have put out water for the hummingbirds. We will be cutting the grass when the rain ends this week. My favorites, daffodils are blooming but the blooms seem sparse this year.

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Highlighted
Senior Contributor

Re: Wildlife plantings?

Here's an article on this very subject from our sister site, Living the Country Life:

 

Creating Wildlife Cover

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