Now is the time you should start seeing broods. I’ve personally seen two broods of quail and several turkey broods in northwest Missouri. Most of northern Missouri has seen fairly normal rainfall this spring and summer. This is a far cry from the last three to four years, where rainfall has been much higher than normal - especially during the critical nesting period of late May into July. These wet conditions have likely impacted quail numbers the last few years.
Our conservation agents will be out in full force conducting roadside counts of quail from Aug. 1-15 in 110 of Missouri’s 114 counties. Clay, Jackson, St. Louis, and St. Charles counties are not included because they are high-density urban areas near Kansas City and St. Louis. Surveyors count the number of quail observed while driving 20 miles per hour or slower along permanent 30-mile gravel road routes. Participants are instructed to conduct counts beginning at sunrise on clear, dewy mornings with light winds to increase chances that quail will be near roadsides.
These observations are used to provide an index of quail abundance across the landscape. Because only a small portion of each county is sampled, the index best represents quail population trends at large scales, including statewide and multi-county blocks such as the zoogeographic region. The statewide long-term trend of the index closely follows other statewide indices of abundance including the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Missouri quail harvest estimates. The roadside survey routes are located almost entirely through private land, so the quail index is a reflection of conditions on Missouri’s private lands.
Visit www.mdc.mo.gov and search “quail and pheasant report” to view last year’s report and look for this year’s report to come out in mid-September.
Have any of you been seeing baby quail, pheasant or turkeys?