Because of the heat my dogs and I have resorted to drives and reading. I’m sure glad we have a good air conditioner in the truck. We took a long drive over to one of the lakes to see if there was a line of chukars going to water but no luck. We did see some blue green algae which most everyone knows is a great concern for dog owners. It seems awful early to me but it’s there so take care. I can’t say that I have ever seen it on stagnant ponds across the hill but I’m sure it exist there also. If anyone has had any experience with the algae on those old cattle ponds please let us know.
I did have a nice conversation with a local rancher in the area. Although he said he hadn’t seen many birds on his rides, he wasn’t surprised. He said he wasn’t seeing much of anything. The animals have disappeared with the hot summer and that included his cows. He pointed out a mountainside that normally holds cattle this time of the year but they have moved on to better forage. They have scattered more than normal. Although he said he couldn’t remember such a long run of heat he was sure that once the cooler weather comes the animals and cows will come home to their normal play grounds.
I also looked through some past studies trying to find how this extreme heat affects chukars. It seems that most studies were done in the 50s and 70s. I also found a study in Utah from just a few years ago. what I was looking for more than anything else was, the effects of this heat on chukars. Here’s pretty much what I came up with.
Aridity seems to be the dominant factor. In the areas of India where chukars thrive, rainfall is 5 inches per year. The climate there is subject to great extremes in temperature. There is never a mention of where they get water or how far they travel to get it but it seems that this is the kind of weather the birds thrive in. Areas that get more than 20 inches of rainfall or more the birds don’t do well.
I keep reading of how tolerant chukars are to extreme heat so that is a positive note after what this summer has dealt us. The two main areas in India where chukars do best the mean temperature of July and August are 73 degrees to 74 degrees. To the best of my ability it looks like parts of Nevada, California, Oregon and Idaho mimic those temperatures.
This year in southwest Idaho that mean temperature has been 78 degrees. I can’t imagine 4 degrees making much difference from what I read.
I’m trying hard to keep it positive. I know this type of scouting is a lot easier on me and the dogs than trying to find birds in this heat. Keep faith and be careful of that algae. There are some fun days to come.