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#2914053 - 08/20/12 02:15 PM Re: Quail [Re: Wes Parrish]
6 Point

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 729
Loc: Tennessee

 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: BowGirl
We used to have alot of quail here. See very few anymore. The habitat here has actually improved significantly.
I "suspect" quail may need a much larger amount of contiguous good habitat to thrive over time, than has been previously believed (even without the obvious increase in hawks and other predators). We had much more of this contiguous good habitat prior to the 1960's. Yet, even a place like Ames which has it today, quail are not thriving like they did prior to the 60's. The situation today at Ames alludes to predators being a bigger problem on quail populations than in times past.

In a sense, turkeys are kinda like just big quail, but they seem to have a much greater range (making them less vulnerable to localized habitat problems), and they're large enough to more easily escape many of the predators that can easily take adult quail.

Unlike most other birds, quail live and die a natural life in very close proximity to where they're hatched. If anything goes wrong, all the quail in an area can die off (or be killed), and there are none going to migrate down with the next cold snap up North.

Great stuff Wes, thanks for the info. That clears it up some. I know the predator population is extremely high here as well. I need to thin some coons, feral cats and possums. I bet that's the biggest problem here.

#2914280 - 08/20/12 06:14 PM Re: Quail [Re: BowGirl]
Wes Parrish
16 Point

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19042
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

I do think coons are breaking up more quail nests than in times past. Just seems on all fronts, quail have a lot more going against their surviving. My grandfather was a big bird hunter back in the 30's, 40's, 50's, and into the early 60's. Another thing they didn't have back then (where there were a lot of quail in West TN) was skunks. There simply were no skunks, and skunks are also known to love quail eggs and break up many nests today.

There were also no coyotes, although I don't think the coyotes themselves are as much a factor as some of the others. There were foxes, and the coyotes tended to displace much of the fox, so we now have coyotes eating quail instead of foxes eating quail.

Not sure if I've previously mentioned this, but I am seeing quail making somewhat of a native comeback on some of the large timber-tract holdings in Middle TN where there is very diverse habitat that includes lots of clear-cuts. One thing in particular many of these areas do not have is, guess what, fescue. There are thousands of acres in many tracts essentially void of fescue. Interestingly, when these tracts were more mature forest, even back in the 50's, they were almost void of quail except for the farmlands surrounding them. Now, the surrounding farmlands (fescue and all) are almost void of quail. Much of what little hope I see in TN having some ongoing quail populations is coming from those large clear-cuts in the middle of what was more recently mature forests.

IMO, fescue remains the worst thing going for Tennessee's wildlife, particularly quail.

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