Posts Tagged ‘honey bees’
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Because the habitat interests of the pollinator supporters and the quail enthusiasts are so similar, the National Bobwhite Technical Committee recently endorsed the proposed “Highways Bettering the Economy and Environment Act of 2011,” or Highways BEE Act, scheduled for introduction in Congress this week, National Pollinator Week. As proposed by the Pollinator Partnership, it would direct the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to use existing mechanisms and funding to encourage the use of native plants and reduced mowing along highway rights-of-way to improve habitat for pollinators and other small grasslands wildlife species, including quail and pheasant.
Visit the Pollinator Partnership here to find out more about Pollinator Week, the legislation and the partnership.
Quail Forever is a conservation partner in the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). Read more NBCI blog posts here.
Learn more about the NBCI at www.bringbackbobwhites.org.
Friday, March 11th, 2011
As a 3rd grader in Ms. Baumgartner’s science class, I first learned about the interconnected “web of life” during a momentary break from rolling spitballs. I’m glad I paid attention during that lesson, because as a bird hunter today, I better understand the link between habitat and autumn bag limits. However, I think even Ms. Baumgartner would be fascinated by the evolving conservation connection between upland game birds and pollinating insects.
The link between pollinators, flowers and game birds is actually pretty easy to explain. You see, pheasants and quail share a common need for habitat featuring a diverse forb (flowering plant) component with pollinating insects like honey bees, butterflies, beetles, and bats. Following a pheasant or quail nest’s hatch, young chicks survive almost exclusively on a diet of insects. These insects critical to a gamebird’s life cycle are also dependent upon a diverse mix of forbs. Likewise, these flowering plants create fantastic brood cover allowing chicks to move through habitat at ground level, while having protection from avian predators in the sky.
In the last few years, bee populations have been plummeting due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder in which honey bees abruptly “disappear” from their hives never to return. There is no clearly known cause for the syndrome, but insecticides and loss of pollinator habitat are both suspected of playing large roles. According to the National Research Council, the annual value of honey bee pollination to U.S. agriculture is between $14 and $19 billion. That’s a lot of cash to go missing from the food chain.
Consequently, the new hot button term at Quail Forever these days is “pollinator habitat.” The marriage between quail and pollinators becomes even more formal on Monday, March 14th when Quail Forever’s favorite habitat tool, the Conservation Reserve Program, begins taking offers for a new general signup. In fact, landowners will significantly improve their opportunity to win a CRP contract by including a pollinator habitat component.
So as it turns out, Quail Forever is in the pollinator habitat business. That’d make Ms. Baumgartner proud.
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.