Monday, November 28, 2016

The Birds

Uninvited guests can wreak havoc at a party. No Kansas wheat farmer wants to provide a never-ending buffet for tens of thousands of geese. But, for several weeks, migrating geese have evidently seen an all-you-can-eat buffet sign flashing green from the heavens. And they say, "Don't mind if we do!"
Farmers try to send them on their way by honking their horns and making more drive-bys than a police cruiser trying to clean up a shady neighborhood. But about as soon as farmers mosey on down the road to the next location, the geese circle back for another taste of tender green wheat.
While hunters might enjoy the influx of geese in Central Kansas, wheat farmers prefer the feathered beasts find their buffet elsewhere, since they can eat a young wheat field to bare ground faster than a teenage boy and his friends can plow through a bag of chips.
We are just south of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Thankfully, we don't have as many birds on our crop land as they host on the refuge. One of the sites I researched estimates that more than 800,000 ducks and geese visit the Refuge until severe weather drives them southward to winter along the Gulf Coast and in Mexico. Being nearby when they lift off reminds me a bit of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."


  1. Sensational photo of them taking off.
    Do hope they don't cause too much damage. My Dad at one stage had what was called a carbine gun. Every 15 mins or so it it would bang to scare the birds from the sorghum.

    1. Yes, some people have those around here, too. I hope they will soon move on south!

  2. I believe the state has offered certain farmers in a program where they pay to have them plant a winter crop and the birds pretty much stay on those fields---not always and since the geese stay until March or April hopefully they stay on those fields. It is the early Spring that the farmers want the geese gone they gobble on the new spring grains coming up. Sometimes the farmers can lose one cutting if the dang geese don't move on sooner than later. Also these is a special shoot in the fall and winter on certain fields for the Snow Geese. MB

  3. 800,000 is a lot of birds! Growing up near the Platte River Sandhill Cranes were one of the major migratory birds.

    We planted some farming back to CRP the spring of 2015. It has become a habitat for pheasants and deer. Every once in a while we have a small flock of prairie chickens (grouse) in the yard. They are fun to see.