Posts Tagged ‘quail management’

Quail, pollinators, farming topics at MO Field Day 6/21

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

COLUMBIA, Mo. – You can learn about the birds and the bees June 21 when University of Missouri’s Bradford Research Center hosts a field day on bobwhite quail and native pollinators. What do bobwhite quail and pollinators have to do with each other? Quite a bit, according to Bob Pierce, state fisheries and wildlife specialist for MU Extension.

“Bobwhite quail require early-successional plant communities – that means forbs and legumes – or weedy vegetation – for food and cover,” Pierce said.

The flowers of these native plants produce nectar that attracts pollinating insects, including certain bees, wasps, butterflies and moths. Others may serve as host plants that provide breeding and feeding areas, he said.

There will be quail management demonstrations from 1 to 3 p.m. on ATV sprayer and warm season grass, drill calibration, tree planting demonstration and bird dog training demonstrations from Perfection Kennels.

From 3-4 p.m Pete Berthelsen, Pheasants and Quail Forever Senior Field Coordinator, winner of the 2011 Farmer/Rancher Pollinator award from the North American Pollinator Protection campaign, will speak on why pollinator habitat and native pollinators can be the key to quail habitat management success.

There will also be a Quail Management 101 class on predator effects, prescribed burning and quail ecology from 4:15 to 7 p.m.

Six all new one hour wagon tours include:

  • On the edge of ecnomics
  • Field borders and edge feathering
  • Creating quail and pollinator habitat
  • Implementing wildlife practices: a private landowners perspective
  • On the hour field tours
  • Walking tour: landscaping and pollinators with native plants

 

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Own your smoke

Friday, April 6th, 2012

By Eric Staller, Land Manager

Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health, and reduce wildfire risk. Land managers and ecologists understand the natural process; fires have been part of the system since the beginning of time, and are as natural and important as wind and rain. We also understand the importance of prescribed burning to ensure ecosystem health; prescribed burning results in higher quality habitat for the early successional species, and increased water and air quality. Managers and the public can make the connection between prescribed burning and wildfire prevention; without the buildup of fuel (pine straw and leaf litter), the probability of a wildfire decreases, and the ability to suppress it increases. However, in today’s world with increasing populations, and more people living in the wildland urban interface, prescribed burn practitioners must put more emphasis on smoke management. If we don’t manage our smoke and the resulting negative impacts, then the public perception is that prescribed fires are bad, and they will push policy makers to take the ability to use prescribed fire away.

The majority of complaints and negative impacts of prescribed burns is a decrease in visibility on roads. Most issues occur in the early morning on roads near low lying areas. Smoke, just like water, will always move down stream and pool up. To make matters worse, this is where fog ends up, and where fog and smoke come together visibility is impacted. Fog may occur when the moisture content of the air is increased beyond the saturation point. During the spring burning season, fog occurs when the air is cooled below a critical temperature called the dew point. In all cases condensation of the excess moisture takes place on the microscopic dust particles in the atmosphere. However, when condensation of the excess moisture takes place on the Particulate Matter in smoke the “white out” phenomenon occurs, resulting in visibility reduction down to a few feet. A white out is usually the reason behind car pile ups on roads; drivers cannot see beyond the hood of the vehicle and quickly reduce speed, to make matters worse they cannot see whether they are on or off the road, and collisions occur. For most burn practitioners, dew point is the best way to predict whether fog will be present in the mornings.

There are many weather sources for prescribed burn practitioners; one that many practitioners use is listed below and shows hourly what the weather is predicted to do. Practitioners should take into consideration the probably of fog the morning following a burn and adjust their burn plan accordingly. The most important consideration is when the burn will be completed. When active fire is moving across the landscape late in the day and the smoke does not rise and mix with the transport winds, then smoke issues are going to occur. Proximity to smoke sensitive areas and acreage are other considerations; if the drainage in your burn unit leads to a road, you may want to reduce acres, and have all active fire out by 3:00 or 4:00 pm; then, go burn another area where the drainage doesn’t lead to a smoke sensitive area.

On Sunday April 8, the temperature will not reach the dew point; fog should not be present that morning. However on the Monday April 9, there will be fog starting around 6:00 a.m. It will begin burning off around 8:30.

Once you open this link: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Tallahassee&state=FL&site=TAE&lat=30.457&lon=-84.2814, scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the arrow and zoom in to your specific location. Once that is done, click on hourly weather graph, and then add it to your favorites for future use. (Caption for “spot weather” jpg)

Reposted from Tall Timbers E-Newsletter

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What To Do?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Written by Bill White, Missouri Department of Conservation

USDA’s General Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup is upon us and it’s decision time! With current grain prices, many landowners may be contemplating whether or not to re-enroll CRP acres. The next several blog posts offer options to help you make an educated decision on the future of your CRP.

Option One: Re-enroll

Consider re-enrolling your CRP contract. Don’t worry if your current CRP soil rental rate payment is too low. There’s a good chance the rental rate has improved since the last time you signed the CRP contract. Over the last five years FSA has adjusted CRP soil rental rates. Check with your local USDA Service Center to see what the new soil rental rates are. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Consider converting your CRP field to a wildlife-friendly mix

Back in the 1990’s, most warm-season CRP fields were planted to a mix of “giant” native grasses and a pinch of wildflowers. Back then, we thought more was better; so many grass seeding rates were around 8 to 12 pounds per acre. We’ve learned a lot over the last 10 to 15 years about establishing native grasses! Research has shown we can have good habitat and reduce soil erosion with much lower seeding rates (around 3 to 5 pounds of grass along with 3 pounds of native wildflowers per acre). Better seeding mixes are good for the landowner and good for wildlife.

Instead of re-enrolling the current grass cover – whether it is warm-season or cool-season, consider replanting the field to a quail-friendly mix of little bluestem, wildflowers and legumes. Old CRP fields will need 2 to 3 herbicide applications to effectively remove the existing cover. Don’t skimp on herbicide either. You’ll pay for it in the long run with re-invading fescue or brome. During the current CRP sign up consult with your local wildlife biologist or Private Land Conservationist for recommended seeding mixes and conversion techniques. Converting to a quail-friendly mix is also likely to improve your overall CRP score.

Pollinator Habitat

Consider converting 10% of your existing CRP into pollinator habitat blocks. Pollinators like honeybees and native insects are experiencing significant population declines due to loss of habitat, loss of floral diversity, invasive plants, disease and parasites. Both honey bees and native bees are important to agriculture:

  • The value of honeybee pollination to U. S. agriculture is estimated at $18.9 billion per year.
  • 75% of the flowering plants in the world rely on pollinators for reproduction.
  • 35% of the crop production in the world is dependent upon pollinators.

Pollinator plots are great for butterflies, bees, and numerous wildlife species. Establish these plots in block or long narrow bands adjacent to shrubby cover. These plots will provide outstanding deer browse, plus great bugging areas for grassland birds throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Providing pollinator habitat will also improve your overall CRP score.

The next More Quail blog will look at keeping buffers around fields that may be coming out of CRP.

NBCI Repost
Read more http://mdc.mo.gov/blogs/more-quail/jump-starting-your-quail-population

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How Can I Make a Difference?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

By Ben Robinson
Coordinator, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife

We spend lots of time talking about what landowners can do to benefit quail.  Reduce mowing, strip disking, prescribed fire; you’ve heard us mention them all.  Quail managers are quick to preach about habitat management, and rightly so.  The loss of quality habitat is a leading cause in the decline of bobwhite.

Unfortunately, we too often forget about all of our supporters that may not own land.  I know lots of folks who are avid supporters of our quail restoration efforts, but they live in town.  And yet we constantly wrestle with how to handle this wonderful group of bobwhite allies.  It shouldn’t be hard for us to create a list of ideas for those who want to make a difference.

With help from our friends at the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) I’ve compiled a short list that I hope will inspire you to get involved with the on-going effort in Kentucky, or wherever you call home.

Kentucky's quail license plate generates much needed funds for bobs. Ask for one in your state!

Purchase a specialty bobwhite license plate
•All proceeds from the sale of this plate go directly back to the management of bobwhite in Kentucky.  Don’t live in KY?  Check with your local county clerk and see if you have a similar license plate available to you.

Join a conservation organization
•Several organizations are in place that focus on quail and grassland restoration including Quail Forever. Show your support by joining one today.

Attend a state wildlife commission meeting
•Voice your support for quail restoration in your state by attending an agency commission meeting.  Can’t make it to a meeting?  Give your local commission member a call or write a letter in support of quail work in your state.  Check agency websites for their contact information.

Do you hunt on private land?  Encourage those landowners to do more.
•If you hunt on private land, or simply know someone who owns property, encourage those folks to manage some of their land for quail.  Put them in contact with a local biologist who can help them manage their property.  Encourage them to cut back on unnecessary mowing, too!

Get creative and lead by example!
•I’ve listed a few ideas to get you started but by no means is this the only way you can help.  If you have ideas, share them with others.  Contact your state quail coordinator and let them know that you’ve thought of a way to help.  Better yet, add your ideas to the comments section below for all to see and put to use!

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.

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Quail Quandary in Texas (Drought)

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The drought has taken a toll on all Texas wildlife but among the hardest hit is the bobwhite quail. Biologists say loss of native grassland habitat is the leading cause for the ongoing decline of the popular game bird but the drought is intensifying the problem. The quail quandary has a broader relevance because that same grassland habitat quail depend on is also important for dozens of other wildlife species and it can also affect water quality and quality for people.

Click HERE to watch a new video featuring Texas quail coordinator Robert Perez talking about the impact of the Texas drought on bobwhite quail in the Texas Bobwhite Theater.

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.

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Florida Quail Management Meeting Set for October 5, 2011.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Quail

Quail management for the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Charlotte County is the topic of a public meeting on Oct. 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Charlotte County Extension Service office, 25550 Harbor View Road, Port Charlotte (941-764-4352).

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff will discuss tentative plans to improve quail populations on Babcock-Webb by integrating habitat and harvest management practices across the entire 65,758-acre WMA.

“Recent research on Babcock-Webb WMA suggests that modifications to harvest and habitat management are needed to increase the population of quail,” said the FWC’s small-game project leader, Chuck McKelvy.
McKelvy said the research also points at limiting quail harvest – up to approximately 15 percent of the pre-hunt, fall population – to sustain or allow the population to grow. The new recommendation would reduce harvest but continue to allow hunting. The FWC’s objective is to increase quail numbers while maintaining the heritage of quail hunting on Babcock-Webb WMA.

Also on the meeting agenda is an introduction to a new quail research project on Babcock-Webb WMA that will focus on burn unit size, comparing larger versus smaller prescribed burn areas and the effects of the burn unit size on survival and reproduction of quail. The research project, scheduled to start in January 2012, will be led by Bill Palmer of Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy. The project will help provide direction for the future of quail management on Babcock-Webb WMA.

The Tall Timbers research project is particularly important because prescribed fire is an important tool used by wildlife managers to benefit quail populations. Regular prescribed fire helps produce quality quail habitat by creating a diverse plant community that is dominated by a wide variety of low-growing, seed-producing plants and grasses. This plant structure and composition provides the essential elements for year-round food and cover for both escape and nesting.

The FWC encourages anyone interested in quail management on Babcock-Webb WMA to attend this meeting. Those unable to attend the meeting may provide comments to Chuck McKelvy at chuck.mckelvy@myfwc.com.

Contact:
Gary Morse, 863-648-3200

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.

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Bobwhite vs. La Niña: Quail Management During Drought

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

By Steve Byrns

Radio-collared quail are released at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch in March 2011. How the hot, dry weather has impacted these and other quail will be discussed at the upcoming field day on Sept. 30. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Roby, TX – “Bobwhite vs. La Niña: Quail Management During Drought” is the theme for the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch’s fourth annual field day set from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 30 near Roby, TX.

The research ranch is 11 miles west of Roby on U.S. Highway 180 or just east of the intersection of Farm-to-Market 611 with U.S. Highway 180. “This year’s record heat and prolonged drought has hit struggling quail populations with  a serious one-two punch across West Texas,” said Dr. Dale Rollins, Texas AgriLife Extension Service wildlife specialist at San Angelo and ranch director. “Here at the ranch, we’re implementing various management strategies designed to mitigate the impacts of drought on quail. Much of this year’s field day will deal with those strategies.”
 
Rollins said another topic will be an update on a recently funded $2 million research effort aimed at examining the effects diseases and parasites have on wild quail populations. The study, “Operation Idiopathic Decline,” started Aug. 25 with quail trapping and disease sampling on 21 West Texas ranches and 10 sites in western Oklahoma. “Drought has always played a key role in bobwhite population fluctuations,” Rollins said. “I’ve always maintained that ‘drought cocks the hammer and rain pulls the trigger,’ but this year there has been no rainfall to trigger the right conditions for a quail rebound. So, we’ll be demonstrating the utility of water-harvesting techniques like spreader dams and also the use of water sprinklers to create ‘quail oases.’ We’ll also look at efforts at feeding a laying ration to stimulate nesting activity during these torrid conditions.”
 
Other presentations and activities will include a plant ID quiz, patch burning during drought and updates on quail economics, predation, quail management on Conservation Reserve Program acres, horned lizard abundance and the role of prickly pear in quail management.
 
The field day is being conducted by the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation, AgriLife Extension, Texas AgriLife Research, and Park Cities Quail. Two Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered.
 
Individual preregistration is $15 prior to Sept. 25 and $20 thereafter and at the door. Registration includes a catered lunch, refreshments and handout materials. For more information or to preregister, contact Mary Lynn Nelms at 325-653-4576 or ml-nelms@tamu.edu. See the ranch’s website at www.quailresearch.org  for program updates.
 
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Pennsylvania Game Commission Seeks Public Comment on Bobwhite Quail Plan

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

 

Quail Near Log

Public comments on the agency's quail management plan will be accepted until Sept. 1, via the website or by mail to: Quail Management Plan, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking public input on a draft northern bobwhite quail management plan, which can be reviewed on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on the “Draft Quail Management Plan” icon under the large photo in the center of the homepage.

Public comments on the agency’s quail management plan will be accepted until Sept. 1, via the website or by mail to: Quail Management Plan, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.

“We are seeking public comment on this draft bobwhite quail management plan to ensure the resulting final management plan considers the thoughts and concerns of Pennsylvanians about this species,” said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director.” As written, the plan is science-based, progressive and promotes responsible management of bobwhite quail.  We’re interested in hearing from Pennsylvanians who would like to offer comments, and to see if we’ve missed something or if they share our management vision for the future.”

The mission of the bobwhite quail management plan is to maintain and restore wild breeding populations of northern bobwhite quail in suitable habitats.

“Drafted by staff of the agency’s Game Bird Section, this plan will require the support of Pennsylvania hunters and all Pennsylvanians,” DuBrock said. “Most importantly, it will require working with farmers, private landowners, and public landowners, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever and other conservation partners to restore farmland ecosystems to accommodate bobwhites.”

The plan identifies supporting goals, objectives and strategies for guiding restoration and management decisions over a 10-year horizon, 2011-2020.  This plan provides a comprehensive look at the bobwhite quail in Pennsylvania. Information on taxonomy, biology, habitat relationships, population and habitat trends, propagation, hunting, restoration and partnerships are discussed in detail. The most important part of this plan outlines the management goals, objectives and strategies and a proposed implementation schedule.

For the complete story, click HERE.

Learn more about the NBCI at www.bringbackbobwhites.org.

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