Save the Quail: Cut Trees, Don’t Cut Weeds

July 19, 2010 | By | Reply More

(Ohio DNR photo)

Today we saw that the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is now a member of the Georgia Bobwhite Technical Team, marking the first time the NWTF “has officially signed on to benefit bobwhite quail in Georgia.”

That’s all well and good, potentially, but the key part of the release is this language (our emphasis in bold):

“According to annual surveys throughout its range, biologists report that the northern bobwhite quail has experienced drastic population declines in recent decades. This decline is primarily attributed to land use changes resulting in a loss or degradation of early successional habitat, which is critical for nesting and brood rearing. Wild turkeys, deer, red-cockaded woodpeckers and a variety of game and non-game species all utilize this type of habitat.

The decline in quail populations has resulted in a reduction of quail hunters and wildlife associated recreation opportunities for Georgia’s citizens and the loss of millions of dollars of economic activity in rural Georgia communities. Similar declines are occurring across the South and are a priority concern for all southeastern state wildlife agencies.” [Not just the South!]

The memorandum between the NWTF and the Georgia DNR “is part of the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), which was established in 2002 to create habitat and population goals for the restoration of bobwhite quail to their 1980 population level. The NBCI is currently being revised and expanded to 35 states to further refine bobwhite habitat and population recovery goals.”

The Georgia states that more than 4 million acres of habitat must be enhanced “to achieve recovery goals set forth in the NBCI” – and that’s just in Georgia!

How to Save Bobwhites

Here’s a fact sheet on the NBCA (pdf file). The way we read it, helping these birds is a combination of what’s done for pheasants (ag land management) and ruffed grouse (cutting and controlled burns).

Category: GA, Northern Bobwhite, Quail

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