A few years ago the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department established "transition zones" - areas mowed only once a year - along non-Interstate highways and on approximately 200 Interstate interchanges. Creating these infrequently mowed, 25- to 75-foot-wide zones next to high-maintenance areas immediately adjacent to the roadside has increased habitat for ground-nesting birds such as Eastern meadowlarks, mourning doves, and ovenbirds (ground warblers known for their chant-like singing). There's new habitat, too, for rodents such as harvest mice, deer mice, and cotton rats, which provide food for predatory birds like the red-tailed hawk.
--Apr 25, 2003
|Photo by A. Wilson, U.S Geological Survey|