Weather or not — we want to know

Weather is one of those uncontrollable factors that can have major impacts on bobwhite abundance. For instance, hot dry summers can impede insect production, depriving bobwhite chicks of the protein-rich diet they need early in life. Also, drought conditions can inhibit vegetation growth reducing the amount and quality of cover heading into the hunting season — as seen this year. We know that precipitation is essential to producing the quality cover needed for good survival, but we also have learned that too much at the wrong time can be the difference between a great and poor quail reproduction year, which we observed last year (2018) in North Carolina, as Hurricane Florence annihilated chick survival and fall recruitment of young birds, as well as put an end to the breeding season six weeks earlier than usual.

We often think about regional weather events or rainfall at a regional level, but during the summer, micro-climate variation is common in Florida and southwest Georgia. So how variable are localized rainfall events? And, how does the heterogeneity in weather across the regions influence bobwhite abundance? Or does it? These are questions we hope to pull back the curtain on beginning this summer. We have begun deploying weather stations (see photo), with the goal of having 25 stations distributed throughout the Red Hills to capture temperature, rainfall, humidity, and solar radiation, and linking this information to our radio-tagged populations at Tall Timbers and Dixie Plantation. This weather station network will afford more relevant application of our research findings across the region. If you would like to learn more about these weather stations or if you are interested in putting some on your property please contact me (

« Back to eNews