Summer is nearly over, and so is nesting season on the Research Ranch. There’s a chance the late August rain will stimulate some hens to nest again, but given range conditions at this time, our nesting season is about finished. This year our radio-marked sample of bobwhite produced 0.76 nests per hen. A single nest is still being incubated as of this writing. If it hatches, our nest success this year will be 53%. Average clutch size was 11.9 eggs which produced 259 chicks (11.0 chicks per successful nest).
This year we tagged chicks for the first time in Research Ranch history. When the chicks were between 7 and 12 days of age, we attempted to capture the brood by building a large enclosure early in the morning while they were roosting. We were successful in 11 instances out of 19 attempts and were able to place patagial wing tags on 71 chicks. When we trap quail this December, we’ll be looking for the tags. These data will give us an estimate of chick survival.
We plan to continue capturing and tagging chicks in the future to further study this part of their life cycle.