Bobwhite quail on the endangered species list?

Discussion in 'Upland Game Forum' started by Clayton, Mar 12, 2001.

  1. Clayton

    Clayton Moderator Moderator

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    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.
     
  2. oldsquaw

    oldsquaw Elite Refuge Member

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    I'll agree with you on that. we used to shoot tons of quail when i was younger (7 or so years ago). we would jump big groups of them one after another all season. The groups that were once big now contain 4 or 5 birds and you see maybe a couple of them a day. we still have alot of cover in the area i live, not much has changed. I think that its the red tail hawks and the coyotes causing the problem here. I think we could slove the coyote problems by offering a little more money for the pelts. I see tons of them and foxes during harvest. if things dont change youll have to go to a special area just to hunt them.
     
  3. drakewoodie

    drakewoodie Elite Refuge Member

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    here in kansas we have tons...on opening weekend its not uncommon to walk into about 7 coveys of quail where we hunt all the coveys around 20-40 birds....we dont manage the ground for them but i am going to try this year...maybe see about getting some to release and start new coveys
     
  4. Buckeye Quacker

    Buckeye Quacker Senior Refuge Member

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    I agree 100% with Olsquaw the sooner us sportsman realize the the anti hunter groups got the trappin slowed down to a trickel and the fur market down to next to nothing , then what happens is that we got ourselfs a a bunch of pedators close to epademic preportions, such as coon, fox, skunk ,possium , then throw in your stray and wild cats , and its no wonder were seeing less and less quail. and if it wern't for the crp enrollment we would really be hurting, on just about all upland species . Its about time us sportsmen start fighting back and stand up to the antis buy buying our wifes, girlfriends , and mothers some kind of coat or jacket or any thing trimed with wild fur probley red fox and coon would help as much as any thing the skunk and possium would get caught in those traps as well. If we don't do something like this I'm afraid eventually the Uplanders as well as the Duck and Turkey hunters will be just as affected by the antis shut down on the trappers and fur.
    Good safe hunting ,
    B.Q.
     
  5. Greybeard

    Greybeard Elite Refuge Member

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    50+ years ago we had Hedge rows and fences on every farm. Cattle were part of farming then also. Most of that has been converted into cash crop farming now. Very few Hedges left and very few farmers have breeding herds of cattle.
    Once the Hedges were pushed down and the hay fields planted to corn and beans the Quail and Pheasants became scarce.
    The farmer is not to blame for this. He was pushed so hard just to stay in the business he had to turn cash quickly or he was gone.
    If we want to look at the MOST ENDANGERED SPECIES we need look no farther than the Farmer, himself.
    I truly don't know how they stay in business with the prices of Machinery, Fuel, Seed and Chemicals SKYROCKETING and yet he is paid a mere PITANCE for his crops and hard work.
    Guess I'm getting old and cranky but if we, as a Nation, lose many more of the Farm families (NOT Corporations) I truly wonder where we will get the food to sustain a burgeoning population.
     
  6. Clayton

    Clayton Moderator Moderator

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    Greybeard,
    The lose of the small family farms with the hedgerows is part of the problem so I don't think people are exactly blaming farmers specifically but the changes that have occured in farming methods. The small farms and their broken up fields have now been bought out by big farming companies that change those fields into a few very big fields.

    Complete lose of habitat to urban sprawl is a major problem as well.

    Predators are not the key issue but habitat. Yes if the habitat blocks are smaller then predators are going to be more efficient but we should not be focusing on trapping more predators but providing incentives for landowners to leave and maintain areas as old field habitat, leave buffer strips along field edges, etc. Also people bushhog big fields several times a year (not for hay either) because they don't want to see them "grownup". They think they look nicer if kept mowed. These people need to be convinced to leave these areas idle and only bushhog say a third each year (outside of the nesting season) so as to maintain it in old field. I see fence rows that are cleanup for no obvious reason. Often times I have heard people say they do it just to give them something to do. Same with bushhogging fields. In the old days people didn't have that kind of idle time or energy to clean up an area just to keep from being bored. Also weedeaters and chemicals make it easy to clean those places.
     
  7. Buckeye Quacker

    Buckeye Quacker Senior Refuge Member

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    Clayton I think think it would be a real good idea if States were to give incentives to farmers who would adhere to programs that help maintain suitable habitat for all upland spieces. I also think that part of that suitable habitat would need predator control just like it use to back in the 40s 50s and 60s 70s when there was both suitable habitate and trappers ! and Quail!If a guy can help the situation out by simply buying a fur jacket for his wife then I think it would be a good Idea .
    Good safe hunting,
    B.Q.
     
  8. Greybeard

    Greybeard Elite Refuge Member

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    BuckeyeQuacker: Most States have had a CRP program for quite a number of years now and here in Central Illinois it has been a God send for Pheasants but the real Quail habitat is long gone.
    They are "fringe" critters and usually only retreat to the deep woods when pressed hard and shot over.
    I recall when EVERY Hedge row would hold at least one Covey of Quail.
    Another item that I think nobady has mentioned on this thread is simply numbers.
    Of Hunters, that is. We had no less than 5 Bird Dog Clubs and one major Breeding Kennel (Mr. Herb Holmes of Gunsmoke fame) right here inb Sangamon County. Now there are none that I know of. That was in the 60's and 70's.
     
  9. OldHunter

    OldHunter Senior Refuge Member

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    Things have certainly changed in the last 20 years or so and not for the better at least for upland birds. In my part of eastern Nebraska, habitat is decreasing at an alarming rate. Small farms, fencerows and grassy waterways are disappearing. Several things are causing this and it all revolves around money or lack of it. Center pivot irrigation can be blamed for much of it. Years past, hilly farmland typically raised dryland corn, beans and milo. Fields had grassy waterways, which often evolved into brushy waterways that supported quail and pheasants. Field borders were separated by fences and usually there were (waste) areas that didn't produce very much so were left as is. Enter the center pivot. Just before the pivot is installed, all and I mean all the habitat is grubbed out. Waterways are replaced by terraces and new outlet drainage structures. Fence rows are removed, because even if the farmer has cattle, electric fences are much easier to deal with.

    Of the three grain crops grown in this area, beans, corn and milo, only the last two support pops of quail or pheasants. The birds will eat beans and do well on them, but offer no cover so ususally the birds move on. The milo that quail prefer is not grown much anymore. I don't blame the farmer, even the small ones have to farm 1,500 to 2,000 acres just to survive. Typically if weather is warm and dry in the fall, most of the milo and corn is disced up to get a jump on spring work. All of this adds up to severely limit habitat for the birds.

    We do have some decent CRP in some areas. The shorter brome/alfalfa CRP produces some birds but has limited value for winter cover and this is the majority of CRP here. The taller mixes of Bluestems, & Indian grass provide better cover. Trouble is most of the CRP here is past its prime and bird production has dropped as a result. Pheasant Forever has a program that enhances CRP while offering hunting access, but the program is limited.

    IMHO, the only solution is money, and a change in the mindset, not only of farmers, but our government farm programs as well recognizing the need for change and a continuation of CRP and WRP and other programs that would help lower grain surpluses and provide much needed habitat. Hunters must be willing to step forward also. If they think a $20 license pays for anything other than G&F administrative costs, they better think again, because it doesn't. I am not a big fan of pay hunting, but the concept gives farmers an incentive to leave some habitat that they might not leave otherwise. It seems to work well in SD, and may be the only thing that saves upland hunting in the future.
    :(

    [ 03-15-2001: Message edited by: OldHunter ]
     
  10. RProvines

    RProvines Guest

    Here in northern Indiana, 30-40 years ago there were coveys of quail all over. As has been mentioned, farming changed. THe 70's brought the brush clearing and all the overgrown fences and lanes; that "fringe" cover that is so important to them. I also remember, when young, the scarcity of hawks. It was fairly rare to see a hawk in a whole day's hunting. The aftereffect of DDT and lack of protection. When they protected them, the numbers of hawks skyrocketed. H*ll, anymore my hunting friends and I joke about "one per lightpole". Its nothing to look out over a 30 acre CRP field and see up to 4 of them hovering around.

    While the CRP has done wonders for the pheasant it isn't that fringe cover that they need. In talking to a long-time neighbor a while back we figured it had been around 15 years since we heard a quail. How sad.

    I'm afraid there's no going back fellas. When I read this post I thought, "I can see this happening, it happened here". Do what you can to prevent it.
     

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