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Food Supplementation

Supplemental feeding (link to feeding recommendations in habitat section??) of bobwhite has occurred for decades on the plantation lands of the Red Hills and Albany area.  Historically supplemental feed was provided during the winter and early spring when energy foods were thought to be at their lowest levels.  Many properties used feeders rather than spreading.

Spreading along dedicated feed trails through habitat.

Spreading along dedicated feed trails through habitat.

Difference in body condition of quail from fed area (foreground) and unfed area.

Difference in body condition of quail from fed area (foreground) and unfed area.

We began experimenting with supplemental feeding beginning in 1998 on Tall Timbers and have been studying the effects of year-round supplemental feeding continuous since that time.  It is a unique opportunity to determine how a broad suite of species is potentially influenced by the influx of carbon to a terrestrial system.  Today, surveys of managed properties representing over 200,000 acres found that over 90% conduct year-round supplemental feeding.  This is because the research on the importance of properly conducted supplemental feeding has shown significant population level effects.

Our studies have found that feeding results in:

Greater Survival rates:

Annual Hen Survival

Greater Chick Production:

Hatches per Hen

Longer Nesting Season:

Proportion of incubating hens

Greater Fall Populations:

TTRS Autumn Quail Density

 

Increased demographic rates result in higher fall and spring abundance of bobwhites on areas with supplemental feeding.  Tall Timbers has a rich and diverse ground story of vegetation that produces ample foods for bobwhites, yet supplemental feeding significantly increases bobwhite numbers. That is why almost every dedicated wild bobwhite property in the Southeast spreads supplemental feed today.