The gully behind my pond is a great place to build a nest. It has cover, a view of trouble coming from any direction and easy access to safe feeding areas. I still catch the hen down there, but she also had a major change in routine and went back to spending time with four other hens.
Her nest surely flooded and was washed away. The gully became a by-passing braid of floodwater capable of swallowing a truck let alone any nests that were in its way. The turkeys have been in a pattern that better resembles early April making it easy to worry about how many nests were lost.
I can’t help but daydream about the potential impacts that wildlife will face from the flooding that has disrupted life throughout the state. Local critters are experiencing the severity of the flooding just as we are.
Animals, both predator and prey, will be forced to relocate. I get this cartoon vision of a raccoon, deer, coyote and turkey all sitting on top of ridge hashing out a deal for how to get along, while looking down over a massive swath of flooded land.
There is no doubt that a staggering amount of land where fawns would be born and turkeys hatched is under water. All of the animals that live in the bottom lands just got flushed downstream or found higher ground.
In the rivers and lakes there is also reason for concern. An entire spawning season is resting on the flow of flood water. Fisheries that have taken years to establish in lakes could be jeopardized due to massive releases downstream. You have to wonder if an entire spawning cycle could be lost for many species.
The structures that man has built to hold back floodwaters are being tested to see if the engineering can stand up. Lakes are flooded to the tune of 20 to 30 feet of water more than they should have in them. Aging flood control structures are being pushed to the brink.
While there are plenty of terrible consequences from the profuse flooding, the same daydream of concern also wonders whether some species flourish and are triggered by periods of flooding. As bad as it sounds, it may be what some species need to live on.
There may be a rare species of salamander that has a banner year. There may be an insect that hatches in clouds that nesting birds rely on to feed their young.
The ecosystem around us is complex and interwoven. Both humans and wildlife will find a way to persevere despite the disaster that is presented at times. Unfortunately, we are experiencing one right now. The difficulty is shared for both wildlife and humans as the flooding and rainfall continues.
Despite the rain, the local tom turkey continues to strut for the hens. They may rebuild their nests or wait until next year to try again. It all depends on the weather.
Jon Kocan is the Stillwater News Press outdoors writer and a longtime hunter. He can be reached at email@example.com.