Saint Paul, Neb. – – Pheasants Forever is in the pollinator habitat business. Pheasants and quail share a common need for habitat featuring a diverse forb (flowering plant) component with pollinating insects like honey bees, butterflies, beetles, and bats. As part of National Pollinator Week, Pheasants Forever has been hosting habitat tours in Nebraska.
During spring and summer months, forbs are critically important to pheasants and quail. Following a nest’s hatch, young chicks survive almost exclusively on a diet of insects. These insects critical to a gamebird’s life cycle are dependent upon a diverse mix of forbs in and around quality nesting cover. Likewise, a diverse mix of flowering plants creates the best brood cover to allow pheasant and quail chicks to move through habitat at ground level, while having protection from avian predators above. Pollinators and gamebirds alike require flowering plant species from April to October to provide both populations with the best chance for survival.
“We’ve been creating honey bee habitat at Pheasants Forever since 1982. These days, we’re talking about pollinators every day. With the catastrophic results of Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees and the subsequent decline in pollinator populations, there is a real opportunity for our organization to be part of the remedy through habitat creation that benefits our favorite gamebirds and pollinators at the same time,” explains Pete Berthelsen, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Senior Field Biologist.
Colony Collapse Disorder is the phenomenon of honey bees from a beehive abruptly “disappearing.” There is no clearly known cause for the syndrome, but insecticides and loss of pollinator habitat are both suspected of playing a large role. Colony Collapse Disorder has been on a dramatic rise in the last decade; bringing significant economic implications. According to the National Research Council, the annual value of honey bee pollination to U.S. agriculture is between $14 and $19 billion.
“It’s easy to overlook the significance of pollinators. They’re small, quiet and often categorized as a nuisance insect. However, it’s time we take pollinators seriously. As a hunter, pollinator habitat will put more birds in my game vest. As an American consumer, pollinators are critical to the price of food and even our ability as a nation to produce food. It’s honestly difficult to overestimate the importance of addressing pollinator habitat immediately,” added Berthelsen.
On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, Pheasants Forever hosted National Pollinator Week events in Saint Paul and Curtis, Nebraska. The organization’s third Pollinator Week event will take place in Alexandria, Nebraska this Saturday, June 26th. More details are available by following this link. Saturday’s event will include field examples of good nesting and brood cover for pheasants and quail, along with a discussion of the habitat benefits for pollinators.
For more information, follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service weblink to Farming for Pollinators.