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Early Summer Wildlife Encounters

Many of us here at Prairie Restorations know that early summer does not only mean the arrival of spring-time forbs and cool-season grasses. It also means the arrival of nesting waterfowl birds, upland game birds, and also the birth of many different species of animals.

In the early part of June many different species of waterfowl take full advantage of our native prairies. From birds as small as the Blue-Winged Teal to birds as large as the Canadian Goose, they love to use the thick, dense cover provided by these prairies. Not only do they love the cover from predators but they also take advantage of the early vegetation and small bugs as nutrition. Make sure when you are doing work, or even walking around in your prairie, to keep your eyes peeled for nests or even little ones like these waddling through the grass.

Early June also marks the time of year when whitetail deer will be giving birth to fawns. Whitetail will often use open meadows or prairies as cover and good bedding to give birth to tiny fawns such as this one. For the first week or so, you can find fawns all by themselves curled up in the prairie, this is a tactic used by many mature whitetail deer to try and lure predators towards themselves instead of the defenseless fawn. Once big enough to walk, fawns will gain nutrition by browsing on native vegetation throughout prairies and woods.

Early June is my favorite time to be out working in prairies not only because I get to enjoy the outdoors, but also because I get to encounter great wildlife experiences like these two pictures. Next time you take a walk, be sure to keep these two instances in mind and maybe you will be lucky enough to stumble upon something like this.

Steve Mueller
Boreal Natives