MOre QuailMore posts

Physics Lessons for Quail Managers

Sep 07, 2011

Hang around quail managers for very long, and you’ll probably hear someone talk about improving that field corner where we always get up some birds, or something along those lines. But is that really the best use of our limited time and dollars? To really boost populations, you’d do better to blow the dust off that old physics textbook in your garage.

Albert Einstein, Quail Manager

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity involves the concepts of space and time. These concepts have important implications for quail managers as well. Noted quail researcher Dr. Fred Guthery discussed a “usable space philosophy” in a 1997 "Journal of Wildlife Management" article. By reviewing the scientific literature for methods that consistently increased bobwhite populations, Dr. Guthery found that the only way managers achieved this goal was to create more habitat (space) available more often (time). Quail populations fluctuate according to the habitat space-time available to them. Limit one or both of these variables and you limit the population potential of the quail. Conversely, when we provide quail with the most space, available over the most time, we have provided all we can. Quail populations reach their highest potential when every acre is usable every day of the year.

Are you a housing developer or just a remodeler?

If physics isn’t your thing, maybe you’re handy with a hammer. The key to building quail populations is not to keep tinkering with the areas where they already occur (remodeling, if you will). Rather, you need to create more areas where they can live (build new houses). If quail already inhabit an area, that’s not the place to focus your efforts. Doing work there won’t produce more quail by “making it better.” If it’s suitable, quail will live there. If it’s not, they won’t. This is exactly why many programs aimed at boosting quail populations often fail. Food plots don’t help when quail already have plenty to eat but not enough places to nest. Warm-season grasses don’t help when brushy cover or the amount of bare ground is limiting. Everyone talks about quail as being an edge species, and to an extent they are. But creating more edge between habitat types is redundant if they already have enough. To be more successful managing quail on your farm, look for ways to increase the amount of space they can use for the most days of the year.

23_05-2011.jpg

bobwhite quail
Bobwhite Quail In Cover

Recent Posts

Smokey 75 Year_1944 Advertising Image

Happy Birthday Smokey Bear

Aug 09, 2019

Happy 75th Birthday Smokey Bear! Our beloved American icon has been protecting our lands from wildfires since 1944. Discover who shares his birthday and how "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" in this week's Discover Nature Note.

red milkweed beetle

The Sincerest Form of Survival

Aug 04, 2019

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but for wildlife, it can up the odds for survival. Mimicry is used for defense, attack, and camouflage in the wild. See how it's done in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Mississippi Grass Shrimp

Missouri's Freshwater Shrimp

Jul 28, 2019

Shrimp in Missouri, Who Knew?: Two types of freshwater shrimp can be found in Missouri's lakes and rivers. One is common and one is rare. The Mississippi Grass shrimp is small and transparent. The female pictured is carrying her eggs attached to swimmerets beneath her abdomen. The Ohio shrimp are larger and harder to find. Missouri's freshwater shrimp are important to fish and other wildlife. Learn more in this week's Discover Nature Note.