As the last rows of corn are taken from the field the wildlife get nervous. The first to start heading out are the pheasants. They take off in all directions, usually in small groups, but singly also.
As the rows get down to the last few rounds the cottontails can be found hopping down the rows in front of the combine. They only leave a row when they feel they are too far away from home. Cottontails are quite content to live in the corn stubble left after we combine. They’ll only leave if a field is chopped or plowed.
Jack rabbits, If there are any in a field, are usually gone early in the harvest. They prefer more open areas so they will head for the soybean stubble where they can see and outrun any problems. It’s rare to see more than one jack per square mile. You could find dozens of cottontails in the same area.
If there are any deer in the field they get out long before the end is in sight. Today I watched as 3 deer left the field and headed south. After a bit they turned west toward an abandoned grove of trees and the highway. Three cars were headed that way at what looked like a collision course. As the cars slowed down the first deer crossed the road. The second deer stopped to look at all of the cars before crossing. The last one wasted no time in catching up.
I was down to 12 rows when the raccoons and the last of the pheasants left the west end of the field. They were headed for the trees of the building site there.
I had seen no wildlife on the east end of the field. This was unusual since this is the end the farthest from roads and buildings. The lack of critters was solved when a coyote headed out of the field on the run. That’s the first coyote I’ve ever run out of my fields.
Coyotes are around but you just do not see them. I’m quite a ways from the rivers and grasslands where they usually hunt. Perhaps all of the other critters I saw is why he was hanging around. As long as he stays away from my cats I’ll let him be.
Fields of standing corn still do exist around here but they are getting more rare by the day. Tillage was slowed by the rain but will pick up now as the night time temperatures drop below freezing. All those little bunnies, birds and deer are going to be heading for the trees. They’ll still be checking out the fields for spilled grain, but when the cold wind blows they need protection from the elements. It will soon be time to snuggle up at home and listen to the wind.