The road super was mowing this week and drove straight into a situation he’s dreaded for thirty years—a fawn in the tall grass. He stood on the tractor’s brakes, raised the mower, stopped a foot short and sat shaking all over. The fawn did not move, just as instructed by its mother.
Another road worker we know did kill a fawn this way, years ago, and went home, too ill to carry on. Tim thought about him as he backed the mower away from the fawn and positioned himself to begin farther down the ditch.
This time he watched like a hawk, and there it was, the second fawn, immobile in the grass. Another maneuver around and the rest of his day was just another uneventful summer day on the mower. Tim retires a year from September, and he prefers to arrive at the date with no more near misses.
He told me the story of the fawns as we stood in the road yard, craning to watch the vultures in the dead tree over the salt shed. I've seen them some mornings and didn't have a camera; he noticed them Friday and I did have a camera. Tim is a fan of the Boston pictures page and hopes to see vultures over the salt shed posted soon.
Why mow, when roadside grass is ideal for nesting birds, and flowers that support bees and butterflies?
Actually, we mow our ditches to keep them clear for flowing water. Townships often do not have storm water drainage except for ditches, and the water is channeled down the valley into the river via the ditches.
Most ditches are grass covered and pleasant appearing. Grass beyond the ditches is in front yards, or merges into woodland.
Ohio Revised Code stipulates townships must have their ditches mowed the first time each year by June 20th. It takes two men mowing a couple of weeks to get through Boston the first time.
Many roadsides in Ohio have "Do not Mow" designations to maintain the wildflower and wildlife habitat.