Our other neighbors: Birds, Fox, Coyote

You may have noticed that the big 14-acre common area behind the homes on Potomac Drive was mowed Saturday for the first time since April.

Previously this area was cut (bush-hogged) four times a year: In mid-May; before July 4; before Labor Day; and late-October-early-November.

In 2019, one of our folks pointed out that the big common area appears to be a nesting ground for Eastern Meadowlarks and by cutting the area in the mid-summer, we were destroying nests and young birds. The Board decided to cut the big area before April 15 and after August 15, the start and end of the Meadowlarks’ nesting season.

We had the area cut just before April 15 this year. In June and July, some of us occasionally spotted a pair of Meadowlarks on the edge of the tall grass, in addition to hearing their calls from time to time.

After the area was cut last Saturday, Jim Robinson – who cuts the area – reported he flushed two adult birds and three almost-grown birds. His description was of the Eastern Meadowlark. Today (Monday) one of our neighbors drove across the big common area and flushed what must have been the same birds – two adult and three almost-grown juveniles, clearly Eastern Meadowlarks.

Because these birds return to their nesting areas year after year, we may see an increase in their population next year.

Our population of Northern Quail (Bob-White Quail) seems to be down this year. Typically we hear four or five birds whistling from various parts of the neighborhood. This year we have heard only two – maybe three – different birds calling and no one has reported the occasional sighting of an adult quail being followed by a dozen or so little birds.

For those of you new to the neighborhood, our county is home to Red and Grey Fox as well as coyotes. Local hunters tell us that they are seeing fewer fox and more coyote; coyotes are known to kill young foxes. If you see what looks like dog tracks and dog droppings on your property, it’s likely coyotes roaming around, though they tend to avoid occupied areas.

We are beginning to see this year’s deer fawns. If you are in a wooded or grassy area and find a spotted fawn curled up in the grass, do not touch the fawn, get away from it and by all means keep dogs away. The mother doe likely has left the fawn there while she feeds or goes for water – the fawn is not abandoned.