Morning dawns at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, northwest of Washington DC and close by the Potomac River. The sunflowers will be aglow in minutes. (Photos: Clandestine Wren Photography)

Each July and August several fields at the 2,000 acre McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area glow with thousands of sunflowers.

These flowers are not planted for their beauty. Or for people, for that matter.

Rather, each year, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources raises sunflowers to provide a food source for mourning doves, and other wildlife species, after the plants mature.

Mourning doves are hunted at these fields during seasons traditionally running from September 1 through early January.

It’s likely managers might not have planned this as a spectacle for people as well. But nature makes it one.

McKee-Beshers attracts human visitors year-round, especially birders and hunters. But right now, in the midst of a pandemic, with people connecting with nature more than ever, the fields are full of people.

For good reason.

It’s a remarkable thing to see people of all origins arriving to bask in the glory of golden yellow, decorated with birds, butterflies, and bees.

Across species, all attracted to the same source.