by John Palarski
We kicked off our third year of translocation in Erath County, TX last month. We translocated a total of 262 bobwhites from west and south Texas. We radiomarked 159 of these birds with VHF transmitters to monitor them over the breeding season. The objective of this research is to discern differences in survival, reproduction, and movement patterns between the two source populations. By radiomarking more individuals this year, we hope to better identify potential differences in these key demographic rates. While sample sizes are small, it appears cause-specific mortality might be different between source populations. We will follow this trend through time. Compared to previous years, survival post-release is comparable and we expect daily survival rates to increase as birds become familiar with their new home.
Site fidelity this year appears to be much higher (i.e., dispersal from release site is minimal), which could be a function of multiple things including a shift from soft to hard releases, initiation of broadcast supplemental feeding, and presence of other bobwhite already on site. We documented our first male whistling on March 25, indicating that bobwhite will soon start nesting.
Findings from this study will greatly inform future translocation efforts on the effects of source population. We thank Park Cities and Cross Timbers Chapters of Quail Coalition, Bass Pro Shops, and Steve and Joan Smith for facilitating this project. We also thank our “Quail Donors” across the state that have donated quail from their properties! Stay tuned for updates as we enter the nesting season.