Texas is home to four species of quail: northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), scaled quail (Callipepla squamata), Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii), and Montezuma quail (Cyrtonix montezumae). Many Texans consider these birds to be iconic state species and fondly recall hunting them, watching them, or just listening to their songs.
Despite widespread interest in quail, their overall abundance—especially in the case of northern bobwhites—has declined significantly over the past few decades. Recent research efforts, such as those funded by the Reversing the Decline of Quail in Texas Initiative, seek to determine what factors are contributing to the decline of quail in Texas. Potential causes include drought, land use changes, land fragmentation, habitat loss, invasive species, insecticides, diseases and parasites.
The Texas Quail Atlas is the latest interactive resource on quail in Texas covering each of the four species, their history, the impacts of changes across the land and a review of quail health based on ecoregions. From dynamic mapping features to snapshots portraying a studied history of quail heritage, the ways we can use this story map for teaching landowners and the next generation of natural resource managers are limitless. Take a look, and as always, a large part of our work is reviewing your feedback on these resources. Let us know what you think and how you might be able to carry this tool with you.