Nothing beats hearing a rooster bobwhite whistle in the spring. Well, maybe a wild turkey. I've been talking to a few biologists and landowners, and they've been hearing quite a few bobwhites whistling. By now, most of the birds have paired up and some are already on the nest. This is the time of the year when we anxiously await the first hatch and we cringe at the sight of a thunderstorm or heavy rain.
This spring, many landowners and biologists conducting habitat work are anxiously awaiting the "fruits of their labor." In most of the bobwhite range, quail will only be abundant in places where people are doing habitat work. I'm glad to hear more people have taken an interest in habitat work for bobwhites and they have seen a response. In fact, here are a few more Missouri landowner success stories worth reading. I know two of the three landowners and both are very happy with the results of their habitat work.
We haven't heard many bobwhites at our farm, but the birds are there. However, I have enjoyed the results of all the habitat work we have done. Here's a nice gobbler (of course they are all nice) I harvested on our farm the second week of the season. I've already found a couple turkey nests on our farm. Interestingly, both nests are in spots with great quail habitat. One nest is under a downed cedar and the other is in a patch of undisturbed warm-season grass.
Another benefit of managing our farm for bobwhites has been the explosion of color this spring. Several years ago we sprayed all the fescue and over-seeded the fields with a mix of wildflowers and native grasses. I periodically burn the fields in the fall or winter to maintain good brooding cover for bobwhites. Below is a patch of Indian paintbrush (red flower) in a field I call the "broomsedge field."
In a couple weeks the field will turn a different color with black-eyed Susan and other wildflowers. Who knows what else might be out there? Maybe a brood of turkeys or quail!
Habitat is the Key!