At the present rate of decline in the recording of bobwhites on the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)* they will in theory no longer be recorded within 10 years. Some are even talking about the possibility that they may end up on the endangered species list. They are not likly to go extinct but will only be found in small isolated pockets where they are actively managed for hunting. Primary reasons for their decline are the growth in large farms, cleaning farming, and development. Rabbits as well as other non-game birds use similiar habitat as the bobwhite and these species are also suffering declines. Captive rearing of quail for release is not an option at all. They have a 90% mortality rate within 2 days!!! It will be a sad day if our grandchildren have to go to a zoo to hear and see a bobwhite quail. * During the 1960s, Chandler Robbins and his associates at the Migratory Bird Population Station (now the Patuxent Environmental Science Center) in Laurel, Maryland developed the concept of a continental monitoring program for all breeding birds. The roadside survey methodology was field tested during 1965, and the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) was formally launched in 1966 when approximately 600 surveys were conducted in the U.S. and Canada east of the Mississippi River. The survey spread to the Great Plains states and prairie provinces in 1967. By 1968, approximately 2000 routes were established across southern Canada and the contiguous 48 states, with more than 1000 routes surveyed annually. The BBS continued to grow as more birders became aware of the program. During the 1980s, the BBS expanded into the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada, and Alaska. Additional routes have been added in a number of states. Today there are approximately 3700 active BBS routes across the continental U.S. and Canada, of which nearly 2900 are surveyed annually. Breeding Bird Surveys are conducted during the peak of the nesting season, primarily in June, although surveys in desert regions and some southern states, (where the breeding season begins earlier), are conducted in May. Each route is 24.5 miles long, with a total of fifty stops located at 0.5 mile intervals along the route. A three-minute point count is conducted at each stop, during which the observer records all birds heard or seen within 0.25 mile of the stop. The BBS was designed to provide a continent-wide perspective of population change. Routes are randomly located in order to sample habitats that are representative of the entire region. Other requirements such as consistent methodology and observer expertise, visiting the same stops each year, and conducting surveys under suitable weather conditions are necessary to produce comparable data over time. A large sample size, (number of routes), is needed to average local variations and reduce the effects of sampling error, (variation in counts attributable to both sampling technique and real variation in trends). The density of BBS routes varies considerably across the continent, reflecting regional densities of skilled birders. The greatest densities are in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states, while densities are lower elsewhere. See map of route locations across North America. Data are recorded at each stop, and then totaled over the entire 50 stop route. Once the data are recorded in the field, it is sent to the BBS office at Patuxent where it is computerized.