Contributors to this thread:
What's The Fallout Going To Be?
Took my hound rabbit hunting before work yesterday and she found a frozen bird that tried to find shelter in a brush pile. Just wondering if you biology gurus have any predictions on the death toll on game birds and other animals after this last freeze? A nephew and an acquaintance have been seeing quite a few prairie chickens in the Flint Hills so maybe they'll survive fine.
........A bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush?
I wouldn't expect much fallout? Warmer weather coming tomorrow.
The damage Quinn, the damage. Like, did it kill a bunch of game we haven't discovered yet.
I’m sure it’ll take a toll but it has in the past as well. We were about the 4th coldest we’ve been here. Longer period this time around. Last time, in 2011, it was followed by record drought for two years. Hope that’s not the case this time around.
An extreme event that kills off some of the weak and sick isn't always a bad thing for the gene pool. I'm sure some species were affected more than others and some populations may drop a little, but I doubt we see much difference long term. With that said I went for a walk a couple days ago looking for quail tracks and didn't find any. Somewhat concerning but I bet they knew where to go... I simply didn't chance upon that spot. It was probably the 2011 cold spell that I'm remembering, but I saw a lot less mangy yotes for a couple of years after a harsh winter. Not a bad thing.
I'm wondering if it might push some species back that are on the edge of their ranges? I wouldn't mind seeing the Emerald Ash Borer pushed back east some, or the turtlerats to push back south.
I have some non-native fruit trees that I'm somewhat worried about. If they don't make it that's on me for planting a tree that is iffy for this zone.
Benefits are that it came late in a pretty mild winter, so birds were mature and most had fat reserves.
Not a lot of ice, which is the real killer. Moderate amounts of cover. Wish it was better.
Quail should have done pretty well, since they circle to stay warm. Just an inconvenience for pheasants. Prairie chickens can survive conditions that would wipe out some species. They’ll fly miles to feed and can roost in snow...it’s the nesting that’s hit them.
Still, physical stress could impact nesting this spring. Skinny, weak hens produce fewer eggs.
Lots of doves been found frozen, but they aren’t made for this.
Until the 90s, -10 wasn’t uncommon, but there was more habitat then.
In some places, losing a little wildlife is a fair trade for some moisture.
I think heavy snow cover for extended period of time is much worse than the cold temps, we had some snow in SC but not really heavy. Does make you realize just how tough some of these critters really are, and I do think it stressed some bucks and caused early "shedding".
Critters can be very tough! I watched a few geese flying over pasture ponds around our place over the weekend. Sure looked like they wanted some open water to land on as they weaved around methodically passing over each pond. Tuesday morning when I picked the tarp up to grab some firewood 2 doves exploded out from under it (next to the walk out basement). One of them didn't have the energy to escape and crashed at my feet. He sat there for a minute then tried again, he got air-born and made it to a cedar tree. Doubt he made it the next night.
I checked trail cams 2 days ago, not a single buck on film that has dropped even 1 side. I saw 3 bucks when I pulled into the driveway last night that still had both sides. It happens every year that guys on forums are picking up sheds while I'm still waiting to see one bald. Always wonder if it's a function of health, weather, nutrition, or genetics. Probably a combination.
As writer alluded to, ice is the biggest threat to wildlife. I do a lot of service call work all over the Midwest this time of year, and I’m seeing tons of pheasants out in the corn and bean fields in central to northern/NW Iowa and southern Minnesota. We have 12”-20” of snow in those areas, but fortunately, no crusted or ice covered ground. Lots of wind blown spots in the fields with very little snow cover, making it way easier for the birds (and deer and other wildlife as well) to find food without major effort. Southern Iowa is a different story. They got snow, then ice, more snow and another layer of ice, then more snow. Critters are struggling way more down there than other parts of our state. Hopefully, this coming warmup will bring some relief for them.
I have been throwing out some feed to 5 coveys of quail on 3 different properties. They were most likely doing fine without my help, as they were having no trouble digging through the snow into the soybean stubble. They seem to be doing fine. Yesterday evening I went to throw out feed and I could see one of the coveys moving around under a cedar tree and they were out feeding where I through the milo within five minutes.
My sister has a covey coming to feed right next to her house and my brother has been throwing out feed for them. Their numbers have remained constant at 11 or 12. An interesting thing occurred at her place a couple of days ago. A doe and fawn came in and was eating the feed for the quail. This is within 20 feet of her house. She tapped on her sliding door window that goes out to her deck and the deer ignored her. She stepped out onto her deck and clapped her hands and they just looked at her and went back to eating. She was no farther than 20 or 30 feet from them. Finally the fawn left and the doe stomped her feet a few times before finally leaving. She has deer around her house all the time and enjoys watching them but does not want them this close.
Sounds like the animals in Texas were not able to handle the cold
Birds on the Rolling Plains Quail Research ranch in West Texas appear to have fared decent. We had that misty icy event the first day-two weeks ago. Didn’t really cover the vegetation thoroughly. First snow event was blowing and drifted a lot. Very powdery. Had several more inches three nights ago. Starting to melt here in NE Oklahoma now. I may go run the dogs in a week or two just to see what I see.
Tied my personal low record temp here at the house a few mornings ago at -16. Previous was 2/10/11-same temp.
This robin had been hanging around the house and appeared weak several days into it. I bought a bag of mealworms and they were quickly consumed. Now a mockingbird sits there expecting them.
Buddy of mine works for the gas company. Had a line break the other night and said the freeze line was below 18”.
If anything I hope it thins out the dillos.
Went coyote hunting up in the hills yesterday and saw very little sign of deer or coyotes. Took the long way home and counted almost 150 deer in a 3 mile stretch of road. All were on soybeans or alfalfa.
At our MO farm the deer were pawing thru the snow to consume the last of the bulbs and clover. Hardly any tracks in the cut beans.
For the 3 days that were the coldest and most snowy I saw no deer and very few tracks on cut beans or wheat. Tons of deer in the trees. I did cut a few hedge trees down and leave the tops for browse though. Tons of tracks around those tops and browsed down to finger diameter. As soon as it warmed up some they went back to hammering wheat and cut beans.
I was very thankful for the large amounts of browse on the field edge we have on our farm the past week. They were once CRP quail strips, after they came out of contract, we let the brush and trees grow. They aren't the best of trees and I'll prolly be doing some needed TSI this late winter, but the browse I'm sure got nailed while the snow was on the ground.
I am glad I planted brassicas, but there is very little top browse left after this last week.
They literally ate everything on top of the snow and then started pawing the snow back to get to the bottom leaves and bulbs.
First year we did turnips they didn’t get hit much, until we had the really cold weather and snow.
It was hard to find even a piece of root after about two weeks. Trails came from a long ways. No doubt that’s what they wanted.
Well, it didn’t seem to affect the dillos.
Saw 2 today, snuck up and got one with a tree branch.
Birds have eaten 5#s of bird seed in 2 days at mother's feeders, didn't seem to reduce her population. Woodpeckers, finches, robins, doves, starlings cardinals, bluejays, and sparrows. Haven't seen the quail, pheasant, rabbits and squirrels that normally show up.
You get a pass-through on him, one-Arrow? ;-)
You killed an armadillo, with a tree branch?
We put out a mix of cracked corn, black sunflower and milo just on the ground and have gone through hundreds of pounds on the drive way this winter. About to buy three more bags that will make about 100 pounds. Feels like we are doing good.
Besides being obviously worried about the bobwhites down here I am worried about my bluebirds. Thank God my Martins haven’t started showing yet.
Yeah?? Not the first time
I’ll video the next one if proof is needed? Lol.
Seriously, do it all the time. Crack ‘em across the head and they are done.
I’m going to have to figure out how to mount a GoPro on a branch, aren’t I?
I believe ya One Arrow. I do the same. Half blind and not smart (the turtlerats). What ever is handy!
Yep! Buddy of mine killed one with an antler one year while shed hunting. If it was anyone else I would have said he was a liar.
He said he almost lost the antler, dillo took off with it in his back, but luckily died before he got away.
I think I read somewhere that their blood coagulates differently than humans and they can bleed out faster, not 100% sure on that, but from experience can believe it. Shot one with a .22 one time by my farm shed. Dang thing flopped around for quite a while as I didn’t want to waste another shell on him. Wish I would have, looked like a sprinkler. I had to get a ladder and bucket, soap, and water to get all the blood off the side of the building. I was afraid it would eat through the paint. Squirted blood probably 10 foot high... looked like I slaughtered a pig. Yes, I wore gloves.
I must be getting soft in my old age. I actually let one live a few months ago. I killed so many on my place and the ex-in laws, hundreds of acres ran dry of armadillos. I still remember seeing the first one in Elk County back in the 90's. I started driving down there when I was 15 because Greenwood County was thin on quail that year. We had to shoot the armadillos to get the dog to stop chasing them.
Got 3 dillos today. Tried to get the first one on my cell camera, but since I was swinging with one hand I completely missed him. You get one chance and they are gone.
Posted in the other thread, but figured here was better. I never thought about the cold snap affecting the fish. While shed hunting I came across this pond.
I’m guessing too shallow and the thick ice deprived them of oxygen. Over hundred, if not hundreds.
What species Ray, can't tell on my Cricket phone
Our sandbass usually crank up around mid to late March here. Most of our lakes are just above freezing right now. This should push spring spawns back a bit. Gonna take awhile for the temps to get right.
Most were bass and crappie. I think I saw a few catfish as well, most were too far out to really tell. Sizable pond... probably 4 acres total.
I new one for me; a turtle on ice. He wasn't too keen on moving around much.
I really wanted to sink some structures by sliding them into position on the ice. Just couldn't do it. No reason to risk breaking through 10' of water, when I've got a boat that will let me do it in a week.