After the Harvest

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

Wheat is grown throughout the West Valley area and is one of the most important crops in the valley. And while most wheat is processed for human consumption, it’s also an important source of food for a variety of local wildlife.

When wheat crops are harvested, some wheat is invariably left behind by the mechanical harvesters. This wheat becomes food for migrating sandhill cranes, geese, ducks, and other birds. During the fall migration season, birds are commonly seen scouring newly harvested fields for leftover grains of wheat. But it’s also a food source for much larger animals, including deer, elk, and the omnivore’s omnivore, bears.

Here are a few. images of wheat left over after the fall harvest in the valley, taken in fields around the the Kuhns homestead.

Recently harvested fields around the Kuhns homestead
Closely-spaced rows
Some wheat and some hollow stalks
More wheat
A few wheat grains,

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