Roadside wildlife

Roadsides receive almost continuous nesting use from April through August as shown by examples listed. Disturbance of roadside cover by early mowing, farm tillage, grazing, "blanket" spraying, or vehicle and tractor encroachment during the peak nesting months (May, June, July) will significantly lower production for species that use roadsides for nesting.

Mammals: cottontail rabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, short-tailed shrew, woodchuck, meadow vole, meadow jumping mouse, western harvest mouse, prairie white-footed mouse, pocket gopher, eastern mole, mink, muskrat, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Franklin's ground squirrel, badger, red fox, raccoon, striped skunk, and spotted skunk.

Roadsides also provide the right combination of abundant food and cover for birds that nest in cavities or in trees near roads. The eastern bluebird and American kestrel commonly use natural cavities or nest boxes next to grassy roadsides. The brown thrasher, eastern kingbird, robin, and common edges such as those found along thoroughfares.

Birds: ring-necked pheasant, gray (Hungarian) partridge, mallard, blue-winged teal, pintail, shoveler, gadwall, common yellowthroat, dickcissel, western meadowlark, red-winged blackbird, mourning dove, bobolink, American goldfinch, killdeer, American bittern, upland sandpiper, eastern field sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, savannah sparrow, vesper sparrow, sharp-tailed grouse, and prairie chicken.

Song Birds and Game Birds: Where and When They Nest

Species

Normal Nesting Period

Nesting Days per Brood*

Number of Broods Each Year

Nest Description

Pheasant

Mid-April through August

35-50

1

Shallow depression on ground, sparsely lined with grass

Hungarian Partridge

Mid-May through August

35-50

1

Shallow depression on ground, lined with grass.

Mallard

April through July

35-50

1

Hollow on ground, lined with grass and down.

Goldfinch

Late June through August

27-37

1

Cup of woven grass and plant down in weeds or small trees.

Bobolink

Mid-May through July

26-35

1

Shallow cup of dead grass on ground.

Meadowlark

Late April through mid-July

28-34

2

Domed nest of woven grasses with side opening

Mourning Dove

Late April through early September

21-28

2-3

Loose platform of twigs on ground or in tree

Dickcissel

Early May through July

21-28

2

Loose cup of woven grass on ground or raised in grass tussock or small bush.

Grasshopper Sparrow

May through mid-August

24-27

2-3

Hollow cup of grass, rim level with ground or slightly raised.

Vesper Sparrow

May through early August

23-32

2

Bulky cup of woven grasses, in shallow depression on ground or in grass tussock.

Common Yellowthroat

May through early August

24-28

1-2

Bulky cup of dead grasses with partial hood, built just above ground in grass tussock or small shrubs.

*Approximate length of time from first egg laid until young leave nest. Nesting periods may be extended if birds are forced to re-nest because nest is destroyed or abandoned.