Roadside Quail Count Summary (data compiled by Jon Purvis)
We perform morning and evening counts eight times (4 morning, 4 afternoon) each September. This year we saw an average of 37.2 quail per survey (3.9 quail per mile). While these counts do not equal the boom years of 2015 and 2016, this is the best year since 2017.
Our average covey size is also larger – at 11.23 birds; it is the largest mean covey size we have recorded on the ranch.
To me (DR) our count at RPQRR is a “tale of two cities.” Overall, it will be the best year since 2017, especially in our supplementally fed pastures. From my visits over the past two months, I’d give our “fed” pastures a 6-7, and about half that in our “non-fed” pastures. Our helicopter counts are scheduled for early November, and I anticipate similar results. We had a record nesting attempt (a total of 91 nests) and survival of juvenile birds through September seems “good.” But we anticipate a rougher neighborhood (i.e., increased mortalities) soon with the arrival of winter raptors this month (especially Cooper’s hawks and Northern Harriers). “Large” coveys suggest “good” chick survival, but we won’t have a handle on that metric until we begin trapping in mid-November. The ranch’s habitat looks very good at this time.