Northern bobwhites have experienced significant population declines throughout Texas and Southeastern United States in the last several decades. In response, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have lead efforts through the Reversing the Decline of Quail in Texas Initiative to improve quail habitat and to help reverse the long-term population declines.  

As part of the quail initiative, NRI and Louisiana State University researchers are evaluating habitat selection and temporal changes in vegetation types used by northern bobwhite in north-central Texas. Advances in GPS technology now allow sufficiently small enough transmitters to be attached to northern bobwhites, and as a result better understand fine-scale habitat selection for quail. NRI researchers are using GPS-derived movement trajectories, combined with intensive vegetation surveys, to better understand the temporal and spatial habitat requirements of this species.

This information will be used to improve the TPWD’s guidance to land managers desiring to improve quail habitat.

Brian Pierce

As an associate director for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, Dr. Brian Pierce provides leadership on the development of collaborative research programs between Texas A&M AgriLife Research, The Texas A&M…

Kevin Skow

As the geospatial manager for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and Texas Water Resources Institute, Kevin Skow provides geospatial support and serves as the lead for several projects within the geospatial and inf…


    Quail are Calling

    The quail are calling, and we've got our fingers crossed for a great breeding season this year. The Texas Quail Index is starting with Spring Call Counts, and now you can participate (or just learn what it's all about) by taking our online course. We also highlight an upcoming webinar for landowners with small-acreage properties and wildlife management goals.

    April Reversing the Quail Decline Newsletter

    A lot can change in a month. As we adjust to new ways of working, socializing, and just plain living, we want to encourage you to persevere. We know our Students of Quail are a resourceful bunch, and we're all in this together! If you're looking for ways to stay busy and learn something new, we have an opportunity for you: help us refine the new TQI Online Course!

    Open the Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative February Newsletter

    February—Disking, shredding, prescribed (Rx) burning—'tis the season for habitat disturbance. Disturbance can open up the landscape and allow for lower successional plant species (like food-producing forbs) to take hold. Doing it now leaves enough time for recovery before nesting season is underway.

    If prescribed burning is something you're curious about but the thought of setting fire to your property makes you nervous, never fear—we have some resources to help you get started in this issue.

    Reversing the Quail Decline December Newsletter

    The end of the year is a time of celebration for many, but for quail it's often a time of hardship. This month we have an episode of Dr. Dale on Quail that explains why winter is such a tough time for these little birds. Plus we've got a new online lesson all about quail songs and calls.

    Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative October Newsletter

    The latest Dr. Dale on Quail podcast is here; you'll definitely want to give it a listen if you're planning on going quail hunting this season. We've also got an article about raptors, one of the top predators of quail, and some great news for the Texas Bobwhite Brigades.

    Spending the game bird stamp money

    Lone Star Outdoor News — Research, education at the forefront. Funds from the $7 Upland Game Bird Endorsement purchased with hunting licenses in Texas have been used to support research and education regarding bobwhite and scaled quail over the past six years.

    Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative May Newsletter

    April showers bring May flowers...and hopefully, plenty of great nesting habitat for quail! We recently celebrated Earth Day with our quail ambassadors, Kirby and Bonnie Blue, and we have a new article that goes into more detail about their role in the Quail Decline Initiative.


    April Quail Decline Newsletter: Spring Has Sprung

    Are you hearing that "poor, Bob-WHITE" whistle yet? While quail gear up for the breeding season, we've stayed busy with several programs and preparations for this year's Texas Quail Index.

    Reversing the Quail Decline: Busy as a Bird

    March Newsletter — Kirby and Bonnie got to stretch their wings at two events last month where they got to meet-and-great eager wildlife enthusiasts. If that's a descriptor that applies to you, then you'll also want to check out the article and videos below!

    New "Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative" Webpage

    We have a brand new web page for the Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative on the Dallas AgriLife Center website! Here you'll find an overview of the program, information on our native quail species and links to valuable resources.

    Bonnie or Beau? Blue's Gender Revealed!

    Happy hunting! Quail season started on October 27th, but be warned: Texas Quail Index data, as well as other sources, suggest there may be fewer birds this year. Look for a full write-up on the TQI in the next month.

    Read the Quail Decline Initiative October Newsletter!

    We hope you've been the beneficiary of some rain this past month! In addition to celebrating the cooler, wetter weather, we have several new QuailMasters to congratulate, a new article, and more webisodes on the horizon.

    Texas Master Naturalists connect on conservation of quail and other Texas wildlife

    The Texas Master Naturalist Meeting was a great opportunity to connect with people who are passionate about the conservation of quail and other Texas wildlife and to build awareness for upcoming events like Urban Quail Appreciation Day and Quail Masters 2018. Members had a chance to meet Kirby—some for the second time—and learn more about the assessment of fine-scale vegetation selection by northern bobwhite quail in Texas. 

    Urban Quail Appreciation Day slated Oct. 5 in San Antonio

    The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, San Antonio Quail Coalition and Witte Museum will present the first-ever Urban Quail Appreciation Day from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5 in the Memorial Auditorium of the Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway St., San Antonio.

      Blog Posts

      Spotlight on Quail Predators: Bobcats

      Their stealth, acute hearing, and well-developed sense of smell combined with razor-sharp teeth and claws make bobcats excellent predators and this fact leads to the inevitable question for quail enthusiasts - how frequently do they predate quail?

      Texas Quail Index 2019 Summary

      We've collected, analyzed, and summarized the data, and now you get to see what we learned about quail in 2019. We had plenty of rain at the start of the breeding season, but did that translate to more birds?

      Approach to Bobwhite Habitat Management at RPQRR

      At the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, everything points to quail. Our primary goal is to maximize “usable space” for quail on the landscape 365 days of the year. There is an important distinction for the land manager to understand when discussing the improvement of habitat for maximization of usable space versus creating an “ideal” habitat.

      Introducing The Texas Quail Atlas

      Texas is home to four species of quail, and many Texans consider these birds to be iconic state species, fondly recalling hunting them, watching them, or just listening to their songs. Despite widespread interest in quail, their overall abundance 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.

      Celebrating Texas Quail at the Statewide Quail Symposium

      The much anticipated 2019 Statewide Quail Symposium kicked off with the August 14th field day located at the MT7 Ranch in Breckenridge, TX. More than 140 attendees joined a caravan of white pickup trucks to learn from habitat management experts at the MT7, including several members of the ranch’s management team, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) professionals, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) representatives, and others...

      Reversing the Quail Decline at EarthX 2019

      Read about this year’s successful EarthX Dallas conference, held from April 26-28, with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and NRI’s Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative booth. 

      Texas Quail Index 2018 Summary

      The end of 2017 had quail enthusiasts across the state of Texas holding their breath. Years 2015 and 2016 had been remarkable for quail with record numbers of birds heard, seen and hunted, and the highest values yet recorded in the Texas Quail Index monitoring program. While 2017 wasn’t a bust by any means, we saw a leveling off of the meteoric rise in quail numbers in many parts of the state. High carryover from the preceding years ensured that there were still plenty of birds around at the start of hunting season, but it felt like our rollercoaster was nearing its apex and preparing to plummet down the other side.

      Why Don't Pen-raised Quail Survive in the Wild?

      While quail may be relatively easy to raise in captivity, research strongly indicates that these pen-raised birds are not well suited to survive long-term in the wild. Read more to find out why.

      Spotlight on Quail Predators: Coyotes and the Mesopredator Release Hypothesis

      Coyotes are widely assumed to be a major threat to quail populations, but are such accusations warranted? It is hard to deny that these canine predators will eat an adult quail or snack on a clutch of eggs if the opportunity presents itself, but they may not be the malevolent quail-eaters that many believe them to be. 

      The Rolling Plains Research Ranch by The Texas Wildlife Association

      The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch is a 4,720-acre ranch in Fisher County, Texas that lies about 10 miles west of Roby off of US Highway 180. Speeding past on the highway the encyclopedia of knowledge that’s been garnered from the gently rolling hills is not obvious. Ultimately, the ranch’s aim is providing land managers and other stakeholders, with timely, relevant technology and management schemes for enhancing quail populations in the Rolling Plains of Texas. In doing so, the ranch hopes to sustain the “quail dynasty” that has supported hunters, ranchers, local economies, hunters and the quail themselves.

      Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation (RPQRF) Annual Report Released

      Hear from the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation leadership, including NRI's own Dr. Dale Rollins, speak on the first ten years in review, learn about habitat and population monitoring findings, mammal surveys and sustainability efforts, opportunities for engagement and much more!

      Texas Quail Index 2017 Summary

      This year’s Texas Quail Index (TQI) featured 26 cooperators representing 7 of the 10 Texas ecoregions. TQI participants are asked to conduct a series of demonstrations which include listening for whistling roosters in the spring, setting out “dummy” (i.e., simulated) nests and game cameras to evaluate predator activity, examining quail habitat, and counting birds along roads. Read more to see the statewide results summarized. 

      A Story Map: Habitat Requirements of Texas Quails

      A Texas Land Trends Story Map: Texas is home to four species of quails: Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Gambel’s Quail, and Montezuma Quail. Many Texans fondly recall experiences with quail, whether they were hunting or watching them, or just listening to their songs. Despite the interest in these quail species, their overall abundance, especially northern bobwhites, have declined over the past few decades. Recent research efforts seek to determine what factors have and continue to contribute to the decline of quail in Texas. 

      How Much Space Does a Quail Need?

      There is no doubt that quail are capable fliers when under pressure and strong, swift runners, but we rarely contemplate just how much distance they cover in a lifetime. When it comes to management of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), it is critical to consider the amount of space they need to maintain sustainable coveys (groups) and healthy populations. When answering the question of how much space a quail needs, you must consider covey sizes, how much terrain quail can cross, and both the amount and quality of habitat that is present in an area that quail occupy.

      Map of the Month: A Day in the Life of a Northern Bobwhite

      Many wildlife species have complex behaviors and utilize their habitat in ways we still do not fully understand. While the mysteries of the wild intrigue most any outdoors lover, they do pose challenges when it comes to the management of sensitive or declining species.

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