NOTE: This blog post was published in the fall of 2009. The Department is not asking for quail covey count volunteers in 2010.
During the fall, coveys will often call to each other right before sunrise. Bluebird mornings with little or no wind are usually the best. The calling only lasts for a few minutes, but during that time there’s usually an outbreak of whistling from all the different coveys in the area. The more coveys in the area, the more whistling there will be.
Department biologists will be conducting pre-dawn whistle counts during the month of October on the Department’s 19 Quail Emphasis Areas to determine preseason population densities and the effectiveness of past management practices.
Since 2005, biologists have been conducting fall whistle counts and spring songbird surveys on the Quail Emphasis Areas to track bobwhite and songbird trends on these 19 intensively managed conservation areas. Biologists and private landowners are also conducting fall whistle counts on private farms and within Quail Focus Areas to determine the effectiveness of past habitat work.
This year, area managers are asking for volunteers to help either with fall whistle counts or with locating coveys after the calling period. After the calling period, biologists attempt to flush the birds to determine the size of the covey. Assisting with the survey is an excellent way to learn more about quail habitat management and a great way to get your dogs into birds before the season. If interested in volunteering, please call Aaron Jeffries at 573-522-4115 x 3146 or e-mail at Aaron.Jeffries@mdc.mo.gov.