Game Bird Program
Large-scale success requires regionally-focused management
The Game Bird Program answers calls and visits properties throughout the range of bobwhite with a concentrated effort remaining largely in regions where research is or has been conducted. This ensures that science-based management advice is regionally-specific, fostering the greatest opportunity for success.
A goal of regional projects is to work directly with private landowners, providing guidance on habitat management as well as coordinate monitoring of spring and fall bobwhite abundance, meso-mammal nest predator context, hawk numbers, and hunting success. Over time these indices provide information on regional pulses and what drives quail populations in the region.
Regional biologists also provide landowners and managers assistance in the renovation of existing quail properties as well as the creation of new ones. Over the last decade nearly 70,000 acres of new wild quail properties were created and an additional 45,000 acres converted from pen-raised birds back to wild birds. A hefty goal of adding 150,000 acres of wild quail lands back on the landscape was established in our 10-year strategic plan.
Alabama Quail Project
Tall Timbers has had a long relationship with the traditional quail properties in the Hurtsboro/Union Springs area of Alabama. As part of our 10−year strategic plan adopted in 2016, we have renewed and expanded these efforts by hiring Mark Sasser, retired Alabama State Quail Program Coordinator, to be our quail biologist in Alabama. This allows Tall Timbers to expand its focus on providing technical assistance to large private landowners across the state who are managing for wild quail. This includes guidance on habitat management from prescribed fire to timber harvest, as well as doing population monitoring on these sites. Tall Timbers is currently working on Alabama properties stretching from Mobile to Birmingham, which combined total over 40,000 acres. In addition, and in partnership with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Georgia Department of Natural Resources, we have conducted two interstate wild quail translocations from Georgia to Alabama. More detail on these efforts can be found in the 2020 Quail Call. Mark Sasser can be contacted by email.
Albany Quail Project
The Albany Quail Project began in 1992 as a research and monitoring program to serve the needs of the Plantation community near Albany, GA. After many years of collaboration, it officially became a part of Tall Timbers Game Bird Program in January of 2008. The program has been under the direction of Clay Sisson since its beginning and has always been very management and hunting oriented. Long-term research and monitoring efforts are centered around year round radio-tracking of wild quail from our headquarters on Pineland Plantation. Since its inception of the project, more than 2 decades ago, we have radio-tracked over 14,000 quail on properties in the region.
Research has been conducted on supplemental feeding, nest predator management, brood habitat, hardwood “clean-up”, hunting efficiency, and wild quail translocation. Our research has helped to shape the modern era of management intensity on local properties that have now experienced population densities and hunting success unrivaled at any point in their history.
Carolina Regional Quail Project
Our goal is to work with landowners and other conservation partners to establish 100,000 new acres of wild quail lands by 2026. The focus of our work in east Georgia and the Carolinas is providing guidance and technical assistance in the renovation of existing quail properties as well as the creation of new ones. More specifically, expansion of intensively managed quail properties across different landscapes. These landscapes are highly variable with regard to associated challenges ranging from heavy grass competition in the South Carolina Low Country to increased urban development with marginal suitability in the Upstate. Amid these and other challenges, there is a wide and growing interest and dedication in restoring wild quail populations in the Carolinas where one measures success of a hunt by number of individual coveys found instead of the number of individual quail harvested.
Current CRQP properties are seeing covey find rates ranging from less than 1 covey per hour to around 1.5 – 2 coveys per hour! If you are located in the Carolina’s, contact Paul Grimes for more information on how to manage your property to maximize success toward reaching your quail objective.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Quail Project
We began working with private landowners in the Mid-Atlantic States in 2009 and we have monitored radio-tagged birds on several properties since that time. The impacts of harsh winter weather on bobwhite has become evident and our research has identified some important limiting factors in this region which has helped to mitigate weather impacts.
Realizing that bobwhite restoration is a large-scale issue requiring localized success, we are working with MD-DNR, Washington College, New Jersey Audubon, and University of Delaware to build habitat cooperatives, comprised of both public and private lands, from which core bobwhite management hubs can serve as both source populations for recovery and bobwhite demonstration areas for landowners interested in managing for bobwhite.