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Managing for Bobwhites
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Bobwhites remain the premiere game bird in the Red Hills and Albany areas as well as in Alabama and South Carolina. Thanks to dedicated land stewardship and application of the latest management techniques bobwhite populations also are at historically high levels. Elsewhere this bird and its habitats are in serious trouble. Across their range bobwhite populations are only a small fraction of what they were only 40 years ago due to changes in land use and the reduction of frequent prescribed fire on the landscape. In Georgia and Florida, for example, about 7 million wild bobwhites were harvested annually in the 1960s whereas fewer than 100,000 are today. Focused management is required to restore bobwhite populations. Given the importance of bobwhite to our area and its conservation value regionally, we conduct a wide variety of research on projects to develop best management practices for bobwhites.
At Tall Timbers we manage 3,500 acres of upland habitat for bobwhites. In 1997 we renewed our focus on sustaining high quality habitat for bobwhite. This makes our research station unique because we manipulate resources in controlled, replicated experiments to determine how management influences bobwhites and other species. In addition, the Albany Quail Project has been testing management ideas on the Albany plantations for 20 years! We also provide management advice on public lands in Florida (Upland Ecosystem Restoration Project) and private lands across the eastern U.S.
Creating suitable habitat for sustaining bobwhites results in habitats for a large number of declining species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants. This is a major reason why quail lands across the southeast often are a bastion for threatened species on private lands. Considering that over 1 million acres are managed for bobwhites on private lands in the Southeast alone, there is a considerable conservation value provided.
Our staff in the Game Bird Program would like to thank all of the dedicated supporters who have made this research possible. The advancement of quail research and management is directly due to you. We hope you find our research useful and educational.