LOOKING OUT. Things appear nice into Friday night, where heat and a slight disturbance in the evening will trigger thunderstorms across the region. While we’re looking ahead, we check out the current status for the pheasant nesting season and some local and national conservation options in today’s Three Things.
Featured Photo: A hen patrols the dewy grass along a gravel road at sunrise. Simonson Photo
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Thu 5/31 – Light Winds. Hi 82, Lo 57, Wind N@5 to SE@10.
Tomorrow: Fri 6/1 – Evening Thunder Hi 87, Lo 63, Wind SE@15, G25.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 5:53AM Sunset: 9:29PM
Moonrise: 11:21PM Moonset 7:40AM
Overhead: 3:05AM Underfoot: 3:30PM
Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous (96% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 7:00-8:00 AM. Stretch first light into moonset for the best bite of the day in this morning’s Edge Hour.
GREENING UP. With rainfall over the region slightly above normal for the drought-stricken western quarter of the state in the last two weeks, things are improving and grasses are greening and growing just in time for the onset of upland nesting seasons. The north central portion of North Dakota, however, is in a shortfall and time will tell if it can escape the lingering drought conditions from 2017.
BUMPER CROP. Pheasants love to nest in alfalfa fields and hay grasses. The tangled vegetation provides ideal cover and perfect nesting locations, however, early haying of these areas can wipe out dozens of birds in less than a day as hens are reluctant to leave nests, and hatchlings aren’t able to make an escape when the foliage is cut. In a season where every bird will count in amassing a rebound, conservation-minded farmers and ranchers turn to flushing bars to bump wildlife from cover before cutting.
HOPING FOR HABITAT. While the 2018 Farm Bill which sets the acreage for the Conservation Reserve Program took a hit prior to the Memorial Holiday, there’s still optimism that up to five million acres could be added to the CRP enrollment cap (24M now to 29M in 2023 at one million a year) and a Bill will be passed in a timely fashion. The option for farmers would buoy wildlife habitat, and the future of bird populations (among other things) hangs in the balance.