Our Vision: We will 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, we will sustain the “quail dynasty” that has supported hunters, ranchers, local economies, hunters, and (of course) the quails themselves.
I often exhort fellow “students of quail” to watch the movie Forrest Gump—I submit there are numerous quail-isms therein. I often note that the little white feather that floated through Gump’s life, in my case, was a bobwhite’s feather! In October 2006 that feather landed 12 miles west of Roby at the now-hatched Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch. Thanks to the generosity of The Conservation Fund and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the RPQRR is now reality and I’ve been blessed to be at the helm during its maiden voyage.
Our quail odyssey took flight. Our first year (2007) was a great start. First, it rained! During a visit to the Ranch in May, 2007, I photographed 48 species of wildflowers — a real bonanza for a red bed soil! Second, the Ranch has been a recipient of some incredible generosity. Mr. W.A. “Tex” Moncrief’s gift of $1 million kicked off our endowment fund in great fashion. Several other private donors and Quail Coalition chapters (especially the Park Cities Quail) have stepped up big time! Their generous support continues to be the wind under our wings.
The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch is a unique laboratory–there is no other ranch or entity devoted solely to the study of wild quail. The Ranch is used as a research and demonstration facility to foster our understanding and management of bobwhite and scaled quail in West Texas. Quail are the focus of all we do on the Ranch. Whether it’s our prescribed burning, grazing management or our fondness for certain “weeds”—everything here points to quail!
An odyssey is a voyage characterized by sudden, unexpected changes of fortune—certainly that’s been the case with quail in recent years. Our odyssey began in 2007 and like you, we enjoyed a great year quail-wise, then surprisingly, our quail began to nosedive. Now, five years later we’ve experienced record lows, and suffered through the quail doldrums. But we’re not content with the status quo. We’ve initiated new and novel research to examine the role of diseases and parasites as a competing hypothesis to the prevailing paradigms of “if it rains we’ll have quail, if it don’t, we won’t” and “habitat, habitat, habitat.” We’re not going to just sit by and wring our hands—we’re delving into various restoration strategies (e.g., “Operation Transfusion”).
But we need your help.
- Dale Rollins, Executive Director
“Gardens are not made by singing ‘O how beautiful” and sitting in the shade.”- Rudyard Kipling