Deferred Grazing and Songbird Management

Songbirds and other wildlife species thrive in a variety of habitats. Therefore, it is desirable to provide as many different types of habitat as possible though manipulation of the your current plant communities. Bulldozing, prescribed burning, mowing, disking, and hand cutting of woody vegetation to “set back” the successional stage will allow for a variety of diverse habitats for early to mid-successional species.

A well-managed diverse native habitat is the key to wildlife management. These habitat requirements should be accomplished through cedar clearing and half-cutting trees and shrubs. Increasing natural foods, such as native grass seed for seed eating birds or insects that live in those habitats for insect eating birds, will help increase songbird populations.

The mowing or grazing of hayfields and grasslands should be postponed until after the peak of nesting/rearing period of ground nesting birds and mammals, which is July 15 in the southern United States. This simply involves not grazing your property, or deferred grazing, until after that date.

After that time, it is recommended that about one-third of the  open area per year be mowed/shredded in strips or mosaic patterns. Deferred grazing not only provides shelter for ground-nesting birds and white-tailed deer fawns, but provides supplemental food in the forms of forbs, forb seeds, and grass seeds for wildlife.

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