Put Down the Mower: Brushy Areas Good for Pheasants, Quail

posted on August 1, 2014
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Need to free up some time to be lazy this summer? Nebraska Pheasants Forever has your answer: Rather than spend hours clearing weedy, overgrown eyesores from your property, relax and pour a drink—such areas are excellent quail and pheasant habitat.

In a YouTube video, Pheasants Forever's Pete Berthelsen cites an old, abandoned farmstead as a perfect example of "odd areas" that we should "change the way we look at and think about."

"You might look at an area like this and think 'This is a complete weedy mess' and I need...to come in here a couple times per year and trim it up," Berthelsen explains. "As a wildlife biologist, I look at this area and know that habitat like this will determine how many birds I have this fall, because this is great pheasant and quail brood-rearing habitat."

He then identifies a variety of nearby, ever-so-important broad-leaf plants. Such vegetation provides pheasants and their chicks with shade and protection from predators; it attracts insects for the birds to feast upon; and it provides enough open areas on the ground for the chicks to move about and eat freely.

"Those are the key components to the puzzle of how to have great brood-rearing habitat to produce more pheasants for the fall," Berthelsen says. "So the next time an odd area or weedy patch kind of bothers you and you want to hook up the shredder, relax. Take it easy. Go to a ball game. Better yet take your bird dog out and train it. Or just enjoy the day with one of your favorite beverages and know that by protecting an odd area we're going to have great wildlife habitat, really important brood-rearing habitat and more birds to chase this fall."

The video is well worth watching, not just for the information it provides but the fantastic footage of quail and pheasant chicks scurrying beneath a broad-leaf canopy. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to be lazy, err, to save some pheasants.


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