A surprising added benefit to fallow pastureland

Our unmowed north paddock

On  the past two visits to the Mountain Farmlet I discovered another good reason to let a pasture lay fallow.




I never got to see them but oh how thrilling it was for me to hear them!   If I could have seen them they would look like this…

I observed that some of them call out “Bob-White”,  while others preferred to call “Bob-Bob-White”.  I never knew there were two forms of their calling.   Did you?

In my research I found out that the Bobwhite’s habitat is systematically disappearing.  Less habitat can mean only one thing… fewer Bobwhites.  Over time as we work our new property I must make sure to have at least one pasture out of use from spring through fall.

Now that I have found them, I want them to stay!

And so I leave you with a lovely audio-visual of the Male Bobwhite calling.  ENJOY!


39 thoughts on “A surprising added benefit to fallow pastureland

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

    how wonderful! i’e witnessed similar ‘luck’at casa loca, which was totallly barren when i moved there and now it’s a bird haven. i let all native species grow, i control some but give them all two to three years to see what they do, if the birds, bees butterflies like or don’t like each species.. and this year, wow a bonanza of a payoff, from tree tops to yellow flowering native vines and the cycle of birds eating butterflies etc… so imagine my horror last week when the owner of the shrimp farm asked, ‘lisa.. would you like some help cleaning u that out-of-control vine on your fence?

    my mouth froze in a shocked ‘O’ as i groped for a reply.. i told him that the vine had been stunning and was now going to seed… he realized he had hit a nerve and backed off…

    whew.. some people think sterile is the answer, which is why our lplanet is in trouble..

    • Lynda says:

      Yes, Lisa, many think sterile and manicured is the only way to go. Drives me wild! To the opposite, they collect bunches of plants from other countries and then turn them loose in the garden where they escape into the wild and take over! Several such ne’er-do-well plants here in northern Alabama are: Nandina, Chinese privet, Princess tree, Honeysuckle, Wisteria, and Flowering pear.

      They have become so happy here that I fear it is a losing battle to remove them all, most especially the Honeysuckle (!!!), but we pick away at them when we find them.
      Most everywhere we look it is monoculture farming, cropped lawns and hedges (even if they would be better left uncropped) and nothing much in the way of flowering species that would benefit the fauna that surrounds us. It is a sad thing, to my mind and heart, when we destroy the habitat of native creatures in favor of plantings that only existed in their native country to serve the native fauna. Our wild things have no use for them here and slowly they grow to crowd out the plant species that do feed the native critters.
      We do what we can where we can; yes?

      • Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

        yes; we do what we can where we can.

        i told another owner of the farm about that same yellow-flowering vine.. that it grew with the maracuya/passion fruit vine.. and suddenly i realized that the caterpillars did not strip the maracuya.. when tha thappens, the vines go into shock and shed the fruit… with the companion planting – a natural evolution and not a choice planting – there were no problems with insects!

        people don’t slow down and observe any more.. they want instant results and use shortcuts…

        hopefully more people will awaken and realize there’s a more holistic way of sharing our planet. our species has become a horrid bully….

        • Lynda says:

          Now you have me curious about that yellow flowering vine. Do you have a picture of it or a name for it? I ask because I eventually want to grow Passion fruit on the mountain. If your yellow flowered vine is native to our area, then I might like to companion plant them in our fruit guild. 🙂

    • Lynda says:

      Don’t they, Cynthia? They are in the quail family and move FAST! I can hear them running away in the grasses and shrubs when I get to near. 🙂

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    This is wonderful news Lynda (and I’ve always wondered what they sound like, so thanks for the audio! 🙂
    SO glad you’ve decided to go “au naturel” (and it sounds like the Bob Whites thank you, as well 😉
    And wouldn’t I just love to see all the different plant species that are coming up, now that you’re letting Nature take her course 😉

    • Lynda says:

      Yes, Deb, I thought so. Actually, the going fallow happened because we couldn’t do the brush hogging ourselves, and our lovely and generous neighbor works full-time and couldn’t do it either. However, the benefits our inability to do what most would deem essential did pay off in a big way!

        • Lynda says:

          I have to say, that the Bobwhites were a balm for me. Our inability to do the job that others expected us to do with pasture was getting to me. Now I know better. ‘-)

          • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

            Well, to follow the “old ways” (from what I understood, at least; ) pasture is for feed – whether eaten fresh now, or baled for later [some farms are lucky enough to have both hay and pasture] and, fields are to be left fallow every seven years if in a crop rotation or rested if pastureland. Of course, not many follow the old “rules” any more and in many places, pasture has been replaced by feedlots… Not sure how many even know about the old ways any more ):

  3. katechiconi says:

    It’s easy to hear how they got their name! I do love it when birds have such a distinctive sound. Have a listen to these:

    These two are the sound of the Australian bush for me…
    And don’t get me started on escaped garden plants. Australia is full of rampant feral Lantana, a pretty and well behaved garden plant until it reaches the wild!

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Julie! It is exciting to discover something new in the wild. Are there any birds/animals there that you have known about, but never experienced first hand?

  4. Jane says:

    What lovely birds! Yes, I would want them to stay too. Often I see birds enjoying unmowed blocks of land due to the grass seeds and numerous insects. Their habitat is fast disappearing though as you say so any areas we can keep natural will keep them alive and give us the added bonus of being able to enjoy their presence.

    • Lynda says:

      Jane, we can’t change the world but we can certainly to our part in our own back yards. BTW, my friend Kate has shared the calls of your Australian Whipbird and Bellbirds with me in her comments above. They are, as she pointed out, aptly named. I think some day I would love to visit your exiting country and experience the flora and fauna first hand.

  5. shoreacres says:

    We have these birds, too — in sufficient quantity that some hunting is allowed, depending on their numbers. Here’s an interesting article that you might enjoy.

    One note they make is that drought caused some ranches to reduce or end quail hunting temporarily. Then, as rains began to return, the added moisture brought cover and insects, which helped bring an increase in the number of birds. If rain is what they need, they ought to be propagating with a vengeance this year. The new drought monitor map just came out, and the entire state is free of drought now. I was out and about last week, and I’ve not seen the coastal plains so lush for five years or so. Nature does cycle, and she’s cycling now. No one enjoys flooding, but our full lakes and flowing rivers are a joy to behold.

    • Lynda says:

      Linda, thank you for sharing the article! It was good to read that the ranchers there are responsible in their hunting ethics and reduced or ended their hunting in the drought you had been experiencing there in Texas. Q: Are quail really good eating? IMHO they seem to small and hardly worth the effort.

      It is also good to read that your drought is over!!! How wonderful!

  6. Littlesundog says:

    We have Bobwhites here also and I love to hear them call. We have learned too that the fallow pasture and woodland “weeds” make wonderful habitat for all sorts of mammals and birds. Daisy deer has taught me much about plants I considered weeds, that for years we worked at eradicating. Now we let those go… and we have planted various clovers and deer edibles in our “yard”! Each year we make the ten acres a little more wildlife friendly!

    Bravo to you for this new discovery… I have a feeling the mountain farmlet will show you all sorts of treasures!!

    • Lynda says:

      Lori, if we can ever get there I know it will. ‘-) In the meantime we keep chipping away at the chores, enjoy our visits, and continue to learn from you! We put a salt lick out in the back 40 last week, but won’t install a feeder until we are living there. 🙂

      BTW: Are salt licks essential, or just a draw for them?

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