Wildlife in the Hay fields

What is a hay field? A piece of land that has tall grass, right? ... Well, it's way more than that. A hay field has an ecosystem of its own. A life of its own. A huge factor to wildlife around it.

A hay field is a refuge for a variety of animals ranging from the smallest of mice to the big, stout deer that find leisure in the grass. Containing a food chain, hay fields house herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, predators, invasive species, and more! One of the more common animals that sure do take advantage of the hay season are the Cattle Egrets. Mostly distinguished by their white coat with a tint of gold that races along their wings and the back of their head. With their pronounced beaks and lanky legs, they perch around the hay fields searching for small insects or even small rodents. They are called "Cattle Egrets" because they are seen standing either standing on the cattle or behind them as they graze, the disturbance that the cattle cause when they graze makes insects flee. The insects cause a feeding frenzy for these birds. Mowing these fields causes more of a disturbance than the cattle, so you can see a great flock of these birds follow you as you mow.

The first day I was mowing a hay field, I noticed, of course the Cattle Egrets but also the hundreds of mice that took shelter in the grass. Almost every few yards of mowing, I would see a couple of mice flee. In response to this, some of the hawks and predatory birds started to scope the area. It was a blissful view seeing nature be active in such a way. These predatory birds would sit on top of the mesquite trees and wait as still as they could to get some dinner. Some moments passed by and in my peripheral vision I noticed something rustling out of some brush. It was a female coyote. Now this coyote was unbothered by the noise and rumbling of the tractor, she stuck around the whole time I was there. She would, at times, get remarkably close to the tractor without hesitation. I guess this coyote wanted mice for dinner as well. By the end of the day, the sun setting, the hay field became a calm, rested, sea of serenity. All the animals went back to their homes, and nothing was left but cut grass, serving as a reminder that Mother Nature will always progress and keep providing for us.

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