Bobwhite Quail Population Dynamics

Bobwhite quail are an amazing upland game bird species with dynamic populations. Research has found that annual cumulative rainfall from April through August is a predictor that explains over 92% of the variance in annual bobwhite quail productivity, based on juvenile:adult ratios obtained from hunter bags in South Texas. Basically, annual reproduction is highly correlated with precipitation.

Overwinter survival of bobwhites in South Texas ranges from about 17 to over 80%, and is far more variable than overwinter survival of bobwhites in the Rolling Plains, which is only about 30%. Harder, colder winter weather obviously can take it’s toll on bobwhite quail populations.

Helicopters can provide practical sampling platform for censusing quail over large acreages of rangelands, if used in conjunction with population estimators based on Distance Sampling methodology. In the past, walking and driving routes were used extensively for quail surveys, but helicopters allow those interested in quail management to survey larger areas more rapidly. The trade-off will be a higher survey cost, but managers must weight the amount of personnel time saved.

Bobwhite quail are an economically and socially important game species. Much of their habitat has been destroyed due to farming and ranching, but their habitat can be rebuilt by implementing proper wildlife management practices that benefit bobwhite quail. The old saying “if you build it they will come” rings true with bobwhite quail and the management of this bird species.

If you have any additional questions concerning wildlife management, specifically bobwhite quail management, please leave a comment below.

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