Delay Mowing to Avoid Disturbing Wild Turkey Nests in Mississippi
Late April through early June is the peak nesting season for wild turkeys and several other ground-nesting birds. These species prefer to nest in overgrown pastures, hay fields, road edges, and ditch banks, which can make them vulnerable to mowing and haying. In order to avoid impacting these species, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) recommends delaying mowing of these areas until after July 1st. For land enrolled in certain federal conservation cost-share programs, contracts may require that mowing be delayed until August 15th.
Wild turkey populations are dependent upon successful nesting in order to replace individuals lost throughout the year to predation or other causes. The overall success of the nesting season is determined by a number of factors including weather, habitat conditions, and predator abundance. Landowners may help local populations to avoid unnecessary losses by waiting until after the nesting season to disturb prime nesting areas.
To create and ensure successful nesting conditions for wild turkeys, the MDWFP recommends a variety of habitat management practices. These practices include prescribed burning in timber stands, strip disking in fallow fields, and converting open areas to wildlife-friendly native grasses.