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BOBWHITE QUAIL:  On the Rise   
The northern bobwhite has had a tough set of challenges to face during the last 50 years: grassland conversion, habitat fragmentation, industrial forestation, increase in feral predators, plus many other factors.  However, the continued presence of remnant coveys is strong evidence that these game birds have to ability to withstand hardship.  With proper planning, restoration is possible on small farms if landowners are willing to make commitments.
 
We have been fortunate to advise and lead many projects in the Mid-Atlantic states and have some very good success stories.  It's not uncommon to get population results the very first year a project is implemented. The truth is, a little work goes a long way when it comes to this outstanding gamebird.  If you're tired of reading about good quail numbers in far away places like Texas or Missouri, then it's time to take action and bring back that nostalgic springtime whistle to your farm. You've come to the right place and the right people.  WFE is the only consulting firm in the northern piedmont that offers the full suite of services needed to assist landowners in bringing back the northern bobwhite to the landscape.

THE TWO DRIVING QUAIL PRINCIPLES

Improving or restoring quail populations begins with habitat.  Restocking, releasing, supplemental feeding, or predator control have very little effect on increasing a breeding quail populations until the basic needs of the birds are present and abundant.

 

The northern bobwhite is a specialist species that thrives on disturbance, like many game species.  However, unlike wild turkeys or white-tailed deer, they do not readily adapt and prosper in a wide range of habitats.  There are many reasons for this, but there are two main characteristics of quail that prevent them from thriving in many of our present landscapes:

1) Quail are ground birds, spending as much as 99% of the day without flying.  Feeding, grooming, watering, and sleeping is all done on the ground.  Flight is only necessary to escape from predators or to find better areas to carry out the functions listed above. Very few places exist today that provide overhead cover while also maintaining open travel corridors on the ground.

 

2) Quail are not migratory: from the egg, birds hatch, grow, breed, and eventually die on a piece of property often measuring less than 50 acres.  The only significant movement for most adult birds happens during breeding season, as males have been known to fly several miles in search of hens.

Once we accept these two limitations, the first step to improving quail numbers is to determine which is the most significant factor.  If wild birds are already in the area, we focus on restriction #1.  This focuses on manipulating the plant communities to provide open ground conditions while maintaining overhead cover. 

BIRD'S EYE VIEW

Good quail habitat typically contains a mixture of native grasses, wildflowers, and seed-producing plants with open ground space.  To see it from a quail's perspective, CLICK HERE