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Ohio Bobwhites Fare Better Than Expected

The hard Ohio winter of 2010-11 had less of an impact on nesting quail habitat than expected.

There was speculation earlier this year that after a tough winter, Ohio’s bobwhite quail numbers would decline. But that doesn’t appear to be the case, according to results from Ohio’s June “whistle call” survey.

“Overall, the total number has not changed significantly from 2010,” Nathan Stricker from the Ohio DNR’s Olentangy Research Station told the Ohio Outdoor News. Here’s more from the report:

Ohio DNR staff conducted their annual roadside survey during the last three weeks of June, stopping at designated locations and recording the number of calls overheard during a three-minute period.

According to wildlife biologists, quail numbers are up in some areas and down in others.

“We did better than we expected,” Stricker observed.

“Quail suffer 80 to 90 percent mortality in cold, snowy winters,” Stricker said. “Southern Ohio had snow cover throughout January and February. It wasn’t unusual to expect high mortality.”

As expected, “topical” changes did occur. Quail disappeared in some areas and reappeared in others where they hadn’t been heard before.

“Southern Fayette County fared well, but some areas of Highland County lost birds,” Stricker said. “Jackson County was up a little.”

Ohio’s bobwhite quail nest from May until early July. Ideal habitat is a mix of grassland, shrubbed, and agricultural fields.

“They don’t move around as long as they have good habitat,” Stricker said.

He noted the Ohio DNR surveys for quail twice a year. June surveys determine populations, while fall hunter surveys determine the impact of seasonal kill on those populations.

Look for Ohio’s complete quail hunting outlook in Quail Forever’s upcoming 2011-2012 Quail Hunting Forecast. To receive this Quail Hunting Forecast via email, simply sign up for  On the Wing, Quail Forever’s monthly eNewsletter.

Field Notes are written and compiled by Anthony HauckQuail Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@quailforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauck.

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