BDA’s Bird Forecasts: KS, ME, MN, MT, NH, PA, SD, VT, ON

September 3, 2010 | By | Reply More

The following bird forecasts are from Paul Fuller’s Bird Dogs Afield periodic emails (sign up here). A bit of explanation from Paul, and then edited versions of the forecasts:

> Our bird forecasts are fresh and typically obtained within the past week [from wildlife biologists and] several folks…that are not biologists but are in the woods, fields and on logging roads almost daily and know exactly what’s going on.

Upland bird coordinator Jim Pittman reports that the south central (Red Hills Area) and southwest Kansas had excellent nesting and brood weather conditions and numbers in these areas should be strong. Pheasant numbers should be very strong in northwest and north central, however numbers will be down in the northeast due to heavy rain and hail in early June.

I continue to speak with folks that are in the woods on a daily basis and they report excellent grouse numbers. Broods are decent size and there appear to be more broods than in the past few years.

Grouse coordinator Ted Dick reports that the spring drumming count was down from last year: Last year’s count was 2.0 per stop while this year’s count was 1.5 per stop. [But] Ted reports that biologists and foresters are seeing a large number of birds. This suggests that the hatch was good and so is brood survival. Ted added that 2009 might have been the peak year for the current cycle.

Scott Thompson, regional biologist for northeast Montana reports that Huns should be about average and sharptails should be up over last year.

New Hampshire
As any one who lives in New England knows, we had a mild winter and a very early spring. Male grouse were drumming well before the spring drumming count survey so…simple observations might be the best indicator. Biologist Julie Robinson reports that biologists in the northern portion of NH say they are seeing substantially more grouse (with broods) than they have for many years. Woodcock observations are up also.

Ian Gregg, game bird section supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, reports that the 2009-10 flushing rate was 1.40 which is just about at the 44-year average of 1.41. Ian feels that grouse hunting in the Northwest and North Central regions of PA should be good to excellent this season. For the Southwest, South Central and Northeast, the prediction is for fair grouse hunting and for the Southeast, the prediction is also fair.

Pennsylvania remains the highest flush rate of the entire central and southern Appalachian states, which include NY, NJ, OH, WV, VA and KY. For the northwest and north central regions, Ian offers the following: “Those with their finger on the pulse of the timber market tell me the rates of harvest over the next few decades in this part of Pennsylvania may put enough land into good grouse cover that the ‘good old days’ are just ahead.”

South Dakota
South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks reports that the annual pheasant brood count in mid-August tallied a statewide pheasant-per-mile count that’s 3% above last year.

Paul Hamelin, certified wildlife biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish & Game, noted that Vermont does not conduct drumming surveys, grouse brood counts or attempts to qualify annual ruffed grouse production. Therefore, to give us a report, he sent an informal request via email to 10 state foresters and biologists. “The consensus from their anecdotal comments seems to be that ruffed grouse broods sighted this summer were not especially large, about 4-6 birds per hen.” Paul added that “…one retired forester who spends a lot of time afield and is an avid grouse hunter reported ‘there seems to be more birds this year than in the past couple of years.’”

Ontario, Canada
The 2009 grouse population was severely affected by cold and rain during nesting season. Peter Davis, northeast regional biologist for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, reports that early and generally drier spring weather conditions across much of northeastern Ontario in 2010 were favorable to early grouse brood production. Depending upon food availability, the prediction is for fair to excellent grouse populations in the northeast, with the Wawa and Manitouwadge areas being on the excellent side.

Category: 2010, Canada, Forecasts/counts, Hungarian partridge, KS, ME, MN, MT, NH, ON, PA, Pheasants, Ruffed Grouse, SD, Sharptailed Grouse, VT, Woodcock

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