KS Birds Doing Okay in Drought

August 2, 2011 | By | Reply More

(Kansas.com photo)

Those of us not experiencing the drought in the Midwest, Southwest and parts of the Southeast may not realize just how bad it is. Upland birds in affected regions have to be suffering to some extent. Just a quick update on Kansas, first with what we previously reported:

> Western Kansas has one of the strongest pheasant breeding populations in its history this year, which is reflected by the extremely high crow counts for 2011.

> However, extreme drought has created unfavorable breeding season conditions across most of southwestern and southcentral Kansas. Thus, the 2011 fall pheasant population will likely be down substantially from last fall in those areas.

Here’s the latest, from this article:

> The pheasant and quail populations in Kansas appear to be stable in spite of the drought that has reduce brooding areas and insect numbers vital to chick survival.

> The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is in the midst of their brood survey and those results won’t be available until late August, said Dave Dahlgren, KDWPT small game specialist.

> In the north central and northwest [Kansas], “We may not have a lot of production but we have a lot of carryover birds,” Dahlgren said. “I’m expecting them to fare better than southwest Kansas.”

> In the areas hardest hit with drought conditions in south-central and southwest Kansas farmers are not seeing a lot of chicks and the broods are a lot smaller. The lack of visual sightings could be from either a decrease in bird population or just from birds reluctant to leave cover because of the heat, Dahlgren said.

> The lack of moisture in southeast and south central Kansas brought an early harvest during the hatching and brooding season causing a drop in young pheasant survival. The drought also reduced the insect population that is critical for chick survival. “I don’t expect southwest Kansas to be like it has been the last two years,” Dahlgren said.

So sounds like the southern part of the state may not be as good, but more info’s coming as we get closer to the season.

Source: Kansas Water Office (click to see bigger).

Category: KS, Pheasants

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