Date: 6/27/20 4:46 pm
From: <clearwater...>
Subject: [obol] Grass-seed harvest raptors
The grass-seed harvest is getting underway. I've seen swathers (also called "windrowers" by local farmers, though "swather" is the word that I grew up with in the Midwest) cutting ryegrass fields in the past 4-5 days, especially in the Brownsville area which always seems to be on the early end of the harvest. Right behind the swathers come the raptors, ready to feast on the numerous small vertebrates that, if not already killed by the swathers, are now easy to pick off in the exposed stubble.

At a monitoring site south of Brownsville yesterday, I saw TWELVE American Kestrels lined up along about a 150-yard section of fenceline. Some of them looked like juveniles but there must have been at least three pairs of adults. The same fields had four Northern Harriers, two subadult Bald Eagles, two Red-tailed hawks, and Turkey Vultures also beginning to gather on thermals overhead.

Tomorrow's forecast of rain might cause a brief pause in the harvest, but by Tuesday or Wednesday it will be back in full swing, and there will be plenty of easy raptor viewing.

--
Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

 
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