Proactive Projects for Pheasants & Quail in August! And, Join Our MNQF Banquet on August 15!
This photo of a male bobwhite was shared by Leslea Hodgson of Fountain, MN. Just a few weeks ago, she heard what she thought was someone whistling for a lost dog. Instead, she found this beautiful male bobwhite and was able to capture this remarkable picture!
This is a two-part blog, which will remind you of our Minnesota Quail Forever Banquet on August 15, but also shares three very proactive things best done in August (before a busy autumn) to help upland birds survive our Minnesota winters. Enjoy the tips, and we truly hope to see you at our upcoming banquet at Tinucci’s in Newport, MN.
Three August Projects to Help Upland Birds in a Minnesota Winter
Build your Feeders NOW!
Many of you would like to provide corn, black-oil sunflower seeds or soybeans to the upland birds in the harsh winter months. But, many of you get started too late and the autumn activities create a distraction, OR you live in an area where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has caused restrictions on feeding deer. For the latter subject, you MUST respect regional DNR requirements for feeding deer. But, is it possible to feed the pheasants and bobwhite quail of southeast Minnesota, while restricting access to this food by whitetail deer? We believe so!!!
Check out this past blog (by clicking the link below) on how to build a proper feeder that will keep deer at a distance. It works very well and the birds will use it all winter, as long as it is carefully placed in the correct location. Read about: https://www.mnquailforever.org/single-post/2019/03/06/Build-a-Simple-Winter-Feeder-for-Quail-Pheasants-That-WON%E2%80%99T-Feed-the-Deer
Or, watch the video for details:
Establish Thermal Barriers Near Reliable Food!
Either set your deer-protected feeders near a woodland edge, or better, near a dense cluster of red cedars or any conifers which have drooping branches at the base. Red cedars will provide food for pheasants and quail, so they are really the best. However, other dense conifers will be helpful. Your feeders MUST NOT be out in the open, making these birds an ideal target for aerial predators. The denser the conifers, the better. These birds need to be able to duck under or scoot through thick cover to get away and such cover needs to thwart the pursuit of any predators. You may believe, you would like to see these birds in the winter, but do not position feeders in a way that helps you see them, but threatens their survival. You’re simply defeating the purpose, right?
You don’t have a dense stand of red cedars? Well, get some bare-root stock and try to plant 150-200 this fall in an area that receives full sun, good moisture, but is also less than 50 yards from a woodland edge. Yet, there IS a simple way to build such cover NOW, which will also provide helpful mid-winter food. Find and cut down 5-10 of your red cedars (found more than 30 yards into the woods), or a lone tree already on an edge, then pile them up near to where you want to place a feeder. And, adjacent to where you would like to begin a planting to have a thermal of red cedars. It wouldn’t hurt to make a V-shape with your piled-up cedars so the point is pointing into the northwest. Doing so will add winter storm protection on the sides. TIP: You likely have farming neighbors that would LOVE (when kindly asked) to have you cut down and take several read cedars. 25 trees of 8-15 feet tall would not be too many. Especially if you can get buddies or family to help you and it’s a great project for young kids and teens.
The thermal barrier you build must establish a canopy, under which upland birds may scurry very quickly. And, ideally, the thermal barrier itself would also be an important source of food. That’s why red cedars work so incredibly well for both pheasants and quail.
If you haven’t heard, the Farm Bill will pay you for edge feathering and our Southeast Minnesota Wildlife Biologist can help you. Click here to read more: https://www.mnquailforever.org/single-post/2019/03/14/Edge-Feathering-Practice-647-Early-Successional-Habitat-Management-and-Development
Just know that you will need much more food than what can be found by the birds in the cedars – so, get serious about making at least one deer-proof feeder.
Come to our August Banquet in Newport Minnesota – Meet the Experts!
Get your questions answered and a few more tips from guys like Thurman Tucker or Paul Schutte. Whether your interest/region is centered on pheasants or quail, these guys can help. And, they simply LOVE sharing what they have learned over the years.
Minnesota Quail Forever’s Metro Chapter Banquet at Tinucci’s in Newport, MN
Click Here for Registration Details: https://www.mnquailforever.org/single-post/2019/07/18/Twin-Cities-Metro-Quail-Forever-Banquet-Registration-Details
Read about the Stewardship Initiative being launched by the Metro Chapter at this banquet: https://www.mnquailforever.org/single-post/2019/08/01/New-Stewardship-Initiative-to-Launch-at-Metro-QF-Banquet
The chapter is respectfully requesting that you complete your registration by no later than Tuesday, August 13 to help with planning.