News Flash - How did New Year’s Ice Storm Impact Quail?
“This just in . . . . . Many people have been concerned about how last week’s weather impacted their quail. At RPQRR, we had 99 quail (mostly bobwhites, about 20 blues) alive and “on the air” last Monday, the day before the wintry weather set in. Friday’s check showed 98 were still alive! So, we did not record any acute effect of the cold weather on quail survival. The RPQRR has excellent habitat with thermal refugia and screening cover ad libitum. Also, about half of our pastures do receive supplement (milo) via “Currie quail feeders” and they (the feeders) were kept quite busy this week. See our Facebook page for several pictures and videotapes of the ice storm and quail at RPQRR.”
Kendall to Present 8th Distinguished Lectureship in Quail Management
Mark your calendars for Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 for the latest in the series of quail lectures. The seminar will feature “On the Trail of the Eyeworm in Texas Bobwhites” and will be held at the Dallas Convention Center in conjunction with the Dallas Safari Club. Eyeworms have been identified as a contender for the “smoking gun” involved with “quail decline.” Kendall is a Professor of Toxicology at the Texas Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University. Kendall has been involved with the “Operation Idiopathic Decline” research effort funded by the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation in 2011. Kendall and his students have several studies underway with the goal of controlling eyeworms (and cecal worms) in wild quail. This year’s lecture comes on the heels of last January’s lecture with Dr. Peter Hudson who identified, and successfully treated, cecal worms which were incriminated in the decline of red grouse in the United Kingdom. The lecture will begin at 9:00 a.m. in Seminar Hall C4; admission to the lecture is free. The program is sponsored by RPQRF, Park Cities Quail, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, and the Dallas Safari Club.
RPQRR seeking Surrogators
If you have a Surrogator you’re not using we’d be interested in borrowing it this winter. We use them to “sequester” translocated wild bobwhites and blue quail for the month of April. Deemed a “soft release” we hold the birds in the Surrogators and feed them a layer ration for thirty days before releasing them. This technique was used last year at RPQRR and appeared to help (a) increase number of birds that entered the nesting season (by eliminating mortality from raptors during April, which has been substantial in our “hard releases” during 2013 and 2014), (b) stimulating nest output (40 nests from 40 female blue quail released last May), and perhaps promoting site fidelity (i.e., when released the blue quail didn’t take off looking for Big Lake—they stayed on site). We will be adding a soft release site to our Operation Transfusion effort in Stephens County next April and maybe expanding our translocation efforts if we can locate enough “quail donors.” Our goal with these translocation efforts is to assimilate data to determine whether translocations are effective at restoring defunct populations of bobwhites and blues; if we can, we’ve got ammunition for TPWD to approve “Triple T” permits (“Trap, Tag, Transport”) as a tool in the quail manager’s toolbox. If you have a Surrogator we can borrow, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll make arrangements for picking it (them) up. If you have one you wish to donate to RPQRR, you can claim a non-cash donation on your taxes.
Operation Idiopathic Decline: Texas Tech Researchers Discover Blood-Sucking Parasite Epidemic in Wild Quail
Operation Idiopathic Decline confirmed that bobwhites across the Rolling Plains of Tx and OK are heavily infested with eyeworms and cecal worms. Additional research is underway at the Tx Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University to assess how eyeworms impact flying and foraging ability of quail, and towards the development of a method to treat wild quail for these two roundworms. Here the lead investigator on the project, Dr. Ron Kendall, provides an update.
Operation Idiopathic Decline: Search for the Smoking Gun
The role that disease and parasites may play in quail dynamics has been largely ignored since the 1920s. After the (in our opinion) inexplicable decline of quail in the Rolling Plains, the Board of RPQRF “got serious” about disease and funded a comprehensive project dubbed “Operation Idiopathic Decline.” Currently (as of Feb 2014), the RPQRF has invested $3.4 million into this ground-breaking study of disease and parasites. This webisode explains OID in more depth.
Webisodes - Sounds a quail makes
You’re familiar with the iconic ‘poor-bob-white’ whistle and the memories that such a whistle evokes. But did you know that a bobwhite makes over a dozen different “vocalizations?” Here Dr. Dale Rollins, executive director for the RPQRR and a World Quail Calling Champion (2001) does his a capella renditions of various quail calls and related sounds. Researchers and quail managers often base their “quail counts” on various whistles that the quail make. Learning to interpret these calls (and maybe even mimic them!) can give you a better appreciation of “quail talk” and perhaps even make you a more successful quail hunter.