Fall Covey Call Update

By November 3, 2023 Articles, Media

Here at the RPQRR, we conduct our fall covey counts throughout the month of October. Last month we recorded an average of 4.0 coveys per location, which is about the same as the past 5 years. Survival has been up, i.e., mortality has been “light“ over the last few months. We only recorded 3 mortalities in Aug, 4 in Sept, and 2 in Oct (out of roughly 70 birds being tracked). We may be hearing slightly fewer coveys, but the average covey sighting (11.2 birds/covey) recorded on the September roadside counts was the largest ever recorded, so we think we have a growing population.

Fall covey call counts are a measure of relative bobwhite abundance and presence/absence. To conduct covey counts be in the field 45 minutes before sunrise. As the first hint of light peeks over the horizon, the birds call briefly to the members of their covey (and surrounding coveys)—think of it as their reveille call. Each covey calls for less than a minute, and the entire process at your assigned listening post can be over in a matter of minutes. If you’re not in position at the right time, you’ll miss the serenade entirely. If you begin hearing the chirps of mockingbirds, you were too late. Since there is daily variation in the number of coveys and calls heard, listen more than one day, and if possible, listen at more than one location.  – by Jon Purvis