The photo here shows onions that have matured on Conservancy property. Normally onions don’t provide the best of habitat for the NBHCP’s Covered Species. However, this onion crop is planted on a field normally used to grow alfalfa. Alfalfa is the premier crop grown for the benefit of Swanson’s hawk, one of the NBHCP’s “primary” Covered Species. Alfalfa is best grown for five-year run (sometimes more, sometimes less) then is replaced. And alfalfa is best not planted to follow alfalfa. So, for that purpose, but also for crop diversity purposes, and for soil regeneration, growing onions on this site is a good alternative. And, in a way, after the onions are harvested, you can expect field mice will be working on the residue. When that happens, it is near certain that Swanson’s hawks to be making a meal out of them. Even if the taste a bit like onions!
The Conservancy has worked hard and spent money trying to improve prey production for the Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsonii). The hawk is one of two “primary” species covered under the HCPs. It has our attention due to diminished nest success. We don’t want that metric to decline. We need more,… Continue Reading Complex Versus Simple