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
brian.pierce@ag.tamu.edu

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
kevin.skow@ag.tamu.edu

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…

    News

    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

      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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