Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch

The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch seeks assistance in locating missing birds

Contact: Russell Graves, 806.280.8007,

September 10, 2015

Wildlife watchers and hunters in the Texas Rolling Plains are asked to be on the lookout for leg banded or radio collared scaled quail this fall.   Dale Rollins, director of the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch (RPQRR) near Roby, Texas makes the request as part of an on-going research study that tracks the movements of the bird and their propensity to repopulate a range where their numbers were once much stronger.

The study, called Operation Transfusion, is a multi-county research effort designed to relocate scaled back to habitat where they’ve long been extirpated. A total of 120 scaled (or blue) quail were relocated to the Matador Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Cottle County and an additional site in Nolan County.

The goal of Operation Transfusion is to gather data to evaluate the efficacy of translocating wild-trapped quail into recently vacated ranges as a means of “jump-starting” otherwise faltering populations. Some of the released birds are radio collared and their movements and survivability are monitored.

Scaled quail were historically common across the western Rolling Plains but their abundance declined sharply around 1988 and has remained at only remnant levels since that time. The cause for the decline is poorly understood, but may include disease or habitat change. For whatever reason, scaled quail have failed to recolonize former habitats and their abundance has remained well below the long-term mean.

RPQRR researchers are attempting to stem the tide on the decline.

Dale Rollins says that the early reports from the Matador WMA release site are encouraging. “Of the the 86 scaled quail we released there, 14 are missing,” he says. “Of those, we know that eight of the 14 missing birds were still alive as of August 21st near the Matador WMA.”

As such, people from the Rolling Plains are asked to report scaled quail where they haven’t seen them in the past five years so that their population expansions can be tracked. In addition, Rollins says that for research sake, they’d love to have information on any bird that his team has tagged and released.

“We’d like to have information on any leg-banded birds someone may shoot,” says Rollins. “No, they’re not in trouble. We just need a report of where the bird was killed to supplement our data on movements. Of course, we’d like the transmitter back if any radio collared birds are found.”

If you would like to report a scaled quail sighting were you haven’t seen one in a while or if you recover a band or a radio transmitter, contact Dale Rollins at

About the Ranch

The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch is a 4,720-acre ranch in Fisher County, Texas. The ranch’s aim is to provide land managers, and other stakeholders, with timely, relevant technology and management schemes for enhancing quail populations in the Rolling Plains of Texas.  In doing so, the ranch hopes to sustain the “quail dynasty” that has supported hunters, ranchers, local economies, hunters, and the quails themselves.

Statewide Symposium “Reversing the Decline of Quail” – Sept 16 – 18, 2015

As a Sponsor, RPQRR is urging quail enthusiasts to make plans to attend the Statewide Quail Symposium to be conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service on September 16-18 in Abilene, Texas.


  • The goal of the Statewide Quail Symposium is to bring together leading professionals and experts in quail management, research and conservation from across the state of Texas.
  • This event will feature engaging presentations from speakers with a wide range of backgrounds, such as current land managers, research scientists and state agency professionals.
  • Topics we will cover popular and relevant topics, including the state of quail hunting in Texas, monitoring quail habitat on private lands, technologies for tracking and managing quail, and much more.

This is a three day event:

  • The Sept. 16 Trail Ranch tour presentations will include talks on quail management, economics, the Texas Quail Index, defining usable space for quail and brush sculpting.
  • The Sept. 17 session slated for 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. will feature talks on the state of quail hunting in Texas, weather and quail, translocating wild quail for re-establishment and eyeworms, plus debates on pen-reared quail and cow and quail coexistence.
  • The Sept. 18 session from 8-11:15 a.m. will feature talks on the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, Quail-Tech, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Institute, Borderlands Research Institute and plans for the next biennium.

For more Information please see news release at or the symposium’s website

Addressing the Eyeworm Threat in Bobwhite Quail

Addressing the Eyeworm Threat in Bobwhite Quail from Dale Rollins on Vimeo.

Eyeworm publications



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.

Team Quail AgriLife Research AgriLife Extension Ceasar Klemerg Wildlife Research Park Cities Quail Unlimited

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