Although we didn't see lot's of birds, we had two situations with new birds on the ground. Both groups had chicks not more than two or three days old. I can't say how many chicks were in each group but can say the tall grass was moving from something making a high peeping sign while an adult was playing the crippled bird game. That kept Jake's attention long enough for me to spot a few of the chicks. In one case there was only one chukar playing hurt (I have to assume it was a female) and in case two there was a pair with only one playing hurt. The second bird flew only 20 yards or so and disappeared. Like earlier, I could hear the peeping but had a tough time locating them without taking the chance of stepping on one.
I also saw two other single chukars that flew a distance and a pair that also flew a ways. It's only speculation but I can't help to believe the singles were hopefully males who's mate was still sitting a nest and the pair were also sitting a nest somewhere. I did not see any adult covey's which is a good sign that the birds are either still nesting or trying to renest. Covey's of full grown chukars are usually a sign of unpaired birds that either were unsuccessful with their hatch or never paired up.
I still want to stay positive about the upcoming season even though I haven't seen a lot of proof yet. I've seen many blue grouse but no chicks yet and on my return home yesterday I saw several loan bull quail along the dirt road. Their female partners had to be somewhere close by and I prefer to believe they were sitting a nest or hiding the little ones close by.
Although this winter was a very harsh one, I believe the game animals fared very well through it. I remember winters similar to last years back in the 60's and we accepted them as part of the culling process of Mother Nature. It seems like today people want to view everything with a negative tone, posting press releases like the one posted July 2 claiming harsh winter took heavy toll on western U.S. I'd rather post the press release from Idaho Fish and Game on June 22 that said the winter kill was less than expected for mule deer, and elk fared even better. Jake and I have not had a trip since the first of June where we haven't found several fawns, calf elk, or turkey babies. The upland rearing season has just begun and I want to believe there will soon be lot's of positive signs for a good season. So far I think Mother Nature has provided us with a lot of positive clues.