MOre QuailMore posts

Shelter From the Coming Storms

Nov 21, 2011

Brush piles might look rough to you, but to wildlife, they look like shelter from the storm. Nearly all animals need cover so they can escape from predators, rest in safety, nest and raise their young.

What constitutes suitable cover depends on the wildlife species. Some animals use hollow trees, while others use brushy areas and dense stands of grass. To several species of small mammals, ground-nesting birds, amphibians and reptiles, brush piles represent an important type of cover.

Of all our management tools, brush piles located in the right places produce the quickest response. Rabbits often take over a brush pile the night after construction.

Proper placement of brush piles allows relatively safe access to food sources and permits wildlife to forage over a larger area. Brush piles should be placed at intervals near feeding areas, along field borders and within idle fields or abandoned areas. Avoid the bottoms of drainages and low spots where standing water might render the brush pile useless. Brush piles should be no taller than 6 to 8 feet and at least 15 feet wide.

Living brush piles may be constructed for a long lasting shelter. To create these, cut partway through small trees and shrubs so that the tops fall to the ground, but leave enough stem on each tree to keep it alive. If the trees are cut to fall in a crisscross pattern over each other, a living brush pile is created.

Regardless of the type, brush piles add a valuable dimension to the wildlife habitat on your land. If properly located and constructed, they will provide important wildlife cover for many years. However, brush piles are not permanent structures. Rot and decay will quickly reduce the effectiveness of a brush pile. To provide adequate escape cover, brush piles must be added to your management area on an annual basis.


Tree cut down beside open field to create quail habitat
Edge Feathering


Magnificent! (As usual. :-P )

Hey, cool content, but WordPress breaks it up on my monitor. Maybe it's the plugin you have on the site. Have you considered a different CMS?

It's so lucky for me to find your blog! So great! Just one suggestion: It will be better and easier to follow if your blog can offer rrs subscription service.

Very good question. Yes, quail will use tall weeds, such as giant ragweed, and forage sorghum for a covey headquarters. And you are right on track with your thought to use these until your shrub plantings get to the point of being useable. My only concern about relying on weeds is that due to weather differences from year-to-year they do not consistently provide the right height/density for quail.When I was a kid and weeds such as lambsquarter and pigweed were much more common on the landscape, that is what our quail used, along with the plum and dogwood thickets along the ditches. While working in Nebraska we had quail using forage sorghum and broom corn food plots on our wildlife areas in place of coveyheadquarters as well as some sunflower choked shrub plantings.Thanks for asking the question!

On a somewhat unrelated topic, do quail make use of weeds or crops, specifically giant ragweed or forage sorghum as covey headquarters? Just wondering if these could be used while shrub plantings mature.

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