Quail on the Rebound

Bobwhite quail

Bobwhite quail


This is Passport to Texas

Quail’s short life span makes them vulnerable to extended drought.

07-During dry years there’s just not enough moisture to hatch out eggs, and there aren’t enough insects to really feed chicks and raise a brood.

Robert Perez is upland game bird program leader at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

16-So, they shrink down on the landscape and then they’re waiting on rain. How long do quail live? Their average lifespan is only several months. A better way to look at it is: each year’s crop–everything that’s produced in the summer–by the following spring, anywhere from 70 to 80% will be gone. They will be consumed, basically.

Texas eventually got some rain; the timing of the rainfall was as important the rain itself.

26-Late winter there was enough moisture to produce the forbes: all the plants that quail need to eat during January and February; those were available pretty much everywhere, and that gets those birds into breeding condition. And then as we moved into spring, it continued to rain. There was a flush of vegetation, lots of insects, soil moisture. And it kept raining intermittently: off and on, off and on, off and on–all the way up to about the second week of July for most of the entire state.

And that created a huge window for quail to breed, which, hunters in most areas of the state will notice when the season opens at the end of the month, says Perez.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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