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The Game Bird Lab

by Theron Terhune

We study two of the most socio-economically important game bird species in North America: Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and Northern Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus). We embrace the premise that good research tends to produce more questions than answers, and the more we learn the less we discover that we actually know. As such, our focus is to develop and carryout meaningful research designed to advance the knowledge and science of game birds.

A primary goal of ours is to gain a better understanding of Game Bird ecology in the Red Hills and Albany regions and, in turn, transfer knowledge learned through research to landowners, land managers, and natural resource biologists. We hope this approach will result in efficient on-the-ground habitat management and quality bird numbers.

Thanks to dedicated and hard-working staff we have amassed one of the largest and long-term data sets on northern bobwhites in the world for a single game bird species.

Our Team

Dr. Theron M. Terhune :: Game Bird Program Director

TMT-web

Theron M. Terhune

B.S., Wildlife Science, Auburn University (1998)
M.S., Wildlife Science, Auburn University (2004)
Ph.D., Forestry & Natural Resources, The University of Georgia (2008)

Research Interests:

I am interested in individual-, population-, and landscape-level ecological processes, particularly among upland game birds. More specifically, I enjoy studying the effects of pragmatic habitat manipulation: the effects of habitat loss, fragmentation, and the influences of habitat structure and modification on demographic processes. Northern Bobwhite Quail and Eastern Wild Turkeys are my primary model research species.

Personal Interests:

I enjoy upland bird hunting and, more recently, training bird dogs. I am passionate about traditional (longbows and recurve bows) bow hunting and enjoy crafting my own wooden arrows to take the elusive white-tailed deer. When hunting season is over I take respite in fly-fishing, fly-tying, and fly-rod building. I also enjoy spending time with my wife leisurely bird watching, backpacking, hiking, and camping as well as exploring novel waters by canoe in N. Florida and beyond.

Links:
Learn more about Theron
Curriculum Vitae
Linked In
Google Scholar Citation Profile
Research Gate Profile


Current Graduate Students

 

Matthew Broadway :: PhD Graduate Student, University of Georgia

Matthew Broadway

Matthew Broadway

B.S., Wildlife Science, Auburn University (2014)
M.S., Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, December (2015)

Study Species:

Northern Bobwhite

Project Description:

My research focuses on Northern Bobwhite Quail ecology in the context of life-history theory. I am specifically interested in negative effects of anthropogenic-induced environmental change (biotic and abiotic) on population vital rates and individual fitness, population-level effects of hunter harvest, community interactions, and avian sexual selection. I also am interested in applying digital photography and remote sensing technology to improve common vegetation sampling techniques.

Personal Interests:

When not working, I am usually hunting or enjoying other outdoor activities. I would consider myself a casual birder and enjoy wildlife photography in my spare time. I also have a distinct passion for hand-loading, target shooting, and minor gun-smithing work. Recently, I have become interested in knife-making, gardening, home-brewing beer and mead, cooking, and preserving food. I also enjoy hiking, running, fishing, camping, and the semi-frequent bourbon night-cap.

 


James Garret :: M.S. Graduate Student, Clemson University

James Garrett

James Garrett

B.S., Wildlife Ecology and Management, Auburn University (2014)

Study Species:

Northern Bobwhite

Project Description:

I am evaluating how timber density affects understory vegetation composition and quality of northern bobwhite habitat. Although management prescriptions (forest density management, burning regimes, etc.) for excellent quail habitat are thought to be consistent across the South, my research will determine if varying levels of pine density in hydric soils of the lowcountry in the Carolinas require alternate management strategies to maintain quality understory vegetation requisite for bobwhite quail.

Personal Interests:

I have always had a huge passion for managing farms for game species. I love looking at new farms and determining how to manipulate them to reach a certain objective. When I’m not riding around a farm or hunting and fishing, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, cooking, and taking on new projects.


Aaron Griffith :: M.S. Graduate Student, University of Tennessee

Aaron Griffith

Aaron Griffith

B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Science, North Carolina State University (2011)

Study Species:

Eastern Wild Turkey

Project Description:

My project is investigating how supplemental feeding for quail influences movement, home range and harvest rate of wild turkeys. I will also examine how gobbling activity relates to breeding chronology.

Personal Interests:

I am an avid outdoorsman. I enjoy all forms of hunting, fishing, and trapping. I also take pleasure in wildlife photography and traveling to different parks and wildlife refuges.

 

 


Alex Jackson :: M.S. Graduate Student, University of Georgia

Alex Jackson

Alex Jackson

B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Science, University of Tennessee (2014)

Study Species:

Northern Bobwhite

Project Description:

I am evaluating raptor and mesomammal impacts on Northern Bobwhite demographics. Specifically, I am interested in the efficacy of practical census techniques such as the predator index and hawk counts to track bobwhite population response.

Personal Interests:

When away from the quail woods, I enjoy my time on the bow of a flats skiff somewhere in the Gulf, catching redfish and tarpon on a fly rod.

 


Jesse Kamps :: M.S. Graduate Student, Mississippi State University

Jesse Kamps

Jesse Kamps

B.S., Fish and Wildlife Management, Lake Superior State University (2009)

Study Species:

Northern Bobwhite

Project Description:

I am investigating the effects of prescribed fire scale and spatial patterning on northern bobwhite. Specifically, I am using radio-telemetry to observe how the size and pattern of prescribed fire influences northern bobwhite movement and ultimately survival. In addition, I aim to evaluate fire size and pattern on bobwhite nest success, brood survival and chick growth. I am also working on a project exploring the effects of habitat type on detection probability for fall bobwhite covey call surveys.

Personal Interests:

The outdoors are not just a workplace for me; in my spare time I enjoy hunting and fishing of all types as well as birding, herping, botany, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and gardening.

 


Kristen Malone :: PhD Graduate Student, The University of Florida

Kristen Malone

Kristen Malone

B.S., Biology, University of Missouri – Columbia (2009)
M.S., Conservation Biology, Central Michigan University (2012)

Study Species:

Northern Bobwhite

Project Description:

I am looking at how survival and reproduction of two ground-nesting birds, the Northern Bobwhite and the Bachman’s sparrow, vary with the abundance of predators and the abundance of an alternate prey species, the hispid cotton rat. Concurrently, I am investigating how a large-scale habitat manipulation – hardwood reduction – can influence predator abundance and alter predator-prey dynamics in open pine systems. We hope this research will provide new insights into the role of predator context in the “new ground effect” and broaden our understanding of predation ecology for both the bobwhite and the Bachman’s sparrow.

Personal Interests:

In my spare time I enjoy canoeing and kayaking, traveling to visit family, and trail running.


Diana McGrath :: M.S. Graduate Student, The University of Georgia

Diana McGrath

Diana McGrath

B.S., Biology, SUNY Geneseo (2013)

Study Species:

Northern Bobwhite

Project Description:

I am evaluating factors that influence covey detection on a plantation in the low country of South Carolina. I study quail movements and behaviors throughout the year and compare them to how they behave and evade hunters during quail hunts. We are looking to see if particular strategies are controlled by a variety of factors including habitat type. In addition, we are conducting scent trials to see how dog’s scenting ability is influenced by the vegetation and weather variables.

Personal Interests:

Growing up in a suburb near Long Island never did quite sit well with me, so I took off to a small upstate town after high school. At Geneseo, I discovered a passion for all things outdoors including hiking, camping and fishing. I have always loved biology and being a part of wildlife research I get to spend my career figuring out the puzzle of life. I spend a large amount of my free time running and exploring new areas.


Seth Wood :: M.S. Graduate Student, The University of Georgia

Seth Wood

Seth Wood

B.S., Biology, The University of Alabama

Study Species:

Northern Bobwhite

Project Description:

I am examining the effects of edge and cover on Northern Bobwhite survival in relation to the hunter-covey interface. In addition, I am evaluating how varying densities of edge (high density vs. low density grid blocking) impact covey movement and survival; and, how these edge density affect hunt success based on hunter effort, coveys found, and hunt course coverage.

Personal Interests:

In my spare time I enjoy hunting, fishing, kayaking, photography, and other outdoor activities.