Deer aren't the only animals who appreciate what we do


Staff member
Although I set out to improve my land to benefit the deer, I've really enjoyed seeing other species benefit as well.

Tonight I was taking a nice stroll around the property at dusk and saw something I've never seen before: black bellied whistling ducks. There was a pair of them sitting on a wood duck box I set up on the edge of a water hole I put in on the edge of a 2 acre food plot I cleared.

I found this pic on Google, but this is exactly what they looked like. So cool.

Beautiful birds. I agree with you that having lots of wildlife around is something to observe and enjoy. An abundance of wildlife is a reminder that we live in God's country, the way it was intended to be. I often feel sorry for city dwellers and the many interesting things that they are missing out on. A quiet walk in the backcountry where you don't see or hear any trace of human habitation other than the walking trail is better than a sports stadium any day.
They are exploding in population in South Florida. Seeing tons around Okeechobee last 2 years. Tasty birds.
I made a post in my thread about seeing quail on my place and commented about how our work can benefit other to see something different like that.
Beautiful ducks! I bet most of us have your same experience - all about improving property for deer in the beginning and then you start seeing improvements for all wildlife. Quail are making a nice comeback on our place.
I like to see all the critters including the predators. Rich to see a fully functioning ecosystem flourishing with all its diversity!
The black bellied whistling ducks will displace your wood ducks. They will out compete them for available cavities and then be gone before duck season arrives in all but the warmest years. They are more common in my area now during summer than are wood ducks.
I like to see all the critters including the predators. Rich to see a fully functioning ecosystem flourishing with all its diversity!
Agree. But I like to remove a few of the predators so that I get to take their place in keeping the ecosystem balanced.
I have never seen Black Bellied Whistling Ducks... very interesting. I think rabbits precede deer in the natural progression of reforestation, and Raccoons are attracted to fruit trees.
It would really be interesting to see how many animals deer food plots benefit. I know that's a small part of habitat improvement but also know they make a big impact.
Foodots are one thing - true habitat work and habitat diversity is where I think we make a greater impact. Too many times people focus on maximum efficiency of timber or farming and try to squeeze every once they can......and wildlife suffers.
I agree. What I'm saying is if you look at what food plots do, then spread that out over the other improvements--I dare say one deer manager does more for wildlife in general than all the PETA and tree-hugger folks do in a lifetime.
I sat in a blind last Fall and watched 3 different kinds of squirrel in one morning; fox, red and some kind of small black squirrel. I felt great about that.

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While I was roller crimping yesterday, I had a coyote hunting in the field just a few yards from the tractor as I flattened the field. Better than TV entertainment.
I thought about this post some more and as much as I support diversity - we also have to be mindful of the natural habitat range of some animals and the impact new critters could have. SwampCat made a comment about these new ducks displacing the woodies. This I assume is based on nesting habitat, but this could also put additional strain on food sources and the like as well. That obviously could be a bad thing. So although we like diversity we also have to realize that there is a balance to be had. Species expanding their zones and especially introduced or re-introduced species can have a huge impact on the ecosystem as a whole (just ask the WI and MN boys about the wolves or southerners about the impact feral hogs).