Archive for December 26th, 2012

Wildlife: Quail Decline, 1

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Bobwhite quail, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Bobwhite quail, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Passport to Texas with support from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program

The northern bobwhite quail may have the largest range among the four quail species found in Texas, but it is also the most threatened.

07— Bobwhites are the big concern as far as our constituents go for parks and Wildlife, and its populations have been in decline range wide.

TPW biologist, Robert Perez, says population decline isn’t new for the bobwhite.

17–In recent history in the 40s, for instance – in the 1940s post WWII – bobwhites were very abundant in east Texas. But since that time they’ve all but disappeared from east Texas and other pine woodlands across the SE United States. And that big decline has continues as you go west across Texas; little by little as time goes by.

If you were to draw a line along the I-35 corridor from Dallas to San Antonio, quail habitat east of that line is highly fragmented.

13– A lot of the native types of grasses and prairies have been replaced by other things; either concrete or by exotic grasses like Mexia or Bermuda, things that quail don’t live in. So, that’s really the main reason of decline in those areas of the state.

Quail need a minimum of 1,000 acres of appropriate, un-fragmented habitat to maintain a viable population. West of I-35, plentiful habitat that includes the bunchgrasses quail need, still exists… but years of drought has taken its toll on the land and the birds.

04– Quail just don’t have that longevity where they can wait through those long drought periods.

More on that tomorrow. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series and funds diverse conservation programs throughout Texas.