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Peak Bloom Arrives at McKee-Beshers Sunflower Fields

Fields Planted Statewide for Wildlife Benefit

Photo of sunflower field at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management AreaThe sunflower fields at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville are now in “peak bloom,” with about 30 acres planted in three fields, providing a spectacular view and serving an important conservation purpose.

The Montgomery County area is just one of many sunflower fields the Maryland Department of Natural Resources plants each spring as a food source, primarily for mourning doves, as part of the department’s  conservation and management programs. Mourning doves are hunted at the fields during the traditional fall season, which runs Sept. 1 through early January. 

The blooming sunflowers flowers additionally nourish pollinators, songbirds, and other wildlife. They are also a frequent subject for entries in the department’s photo contest, which ends Aug. 31

Visiting and photographing the spectacular sight is welcomed, but visitors are reminded that damaging, disturbing, or picking the sunflowers is strictly prohibited. Citizens may not cut, remove, or trample the flowers. 

Sightseers should also be advised that, while the wildlife management area is open to the public, there are no amenities such as garbage cans, restrooms, shelters, or tables. Visitors must pack out any trash and take it with them. Additionally, anyone visiting these fields should protect themselves from the elements, namely mosquitoes, poison ivy, ticks, and – of course – the sun. Long pants and hiking shoes are strongly recommended.

More information and updates on the status of the sunflower fields is available online, as is detailed information about why the sunflowers are planted and why it’s essential they be left untouched.