A familiar sight and sound is returning to a farm in Putnam County through efforts of three Spring Valley men raising quail.
In January, former Spring Valley mayor Cliff Banks, alderman Mark Actis and Spring Valley resident Gray Casper started raising quail on farmland in Putnam County. Banks owns 304 acres of the land where he raises and releases the birds into the wild.
About three weeks ago, the men released 165 quail onto the property. Banks said the birds can be seen throughout the day running across the lane between the corn and wheat fields to feed and shade themselves. The farmers have reported seeing the birds in their backyard at night, he said.
“Everything’s been going well so far,” said Banks.
Banks said the birds have been sticking around and have been flying and feeding OK. He also believes area predators have been leaving them alone.
“That means we are doing something right,” he said.
Banks said they chose the area because quail used to be abundant on the land. In the past years, the population has fallen due to farming and other environmental factors, said Banks.
Banks said there used to be lots of quail in his former hometown in southern Illinois and when he moved to Spring Valley he missed the “whistle” or bird call he use to hear. He said he wanted to bring that back to the area.
The men continue to raise more birds and will have another 200 ready to release in a few weeks, including 50 he wants to release on property in Streator. Banks said he had around 80 eggs that hatched this week and several others that would soon be ready to learn how to fly.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
The call of the whip-poor-will and bobwhite quail have something in common.
No, they don’t sound remotely similar, and one emanates from the forest at night while the other rises from the fields during the day.
What they do have in common is they are both sounds that are seldom heard in Pennsylvania anymore, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission is hoping to bring at least one of the species back.
Northern bobwhite quail were relatively common in parts of the state - particularly agricultural areas, until the mid-1940’s. The population dropped in the 1950’s, made a recovery in the early 1960’s and then plummeted to the near non-existent levels of today. Habitat change - namely the loss of grassland and brushy areas, is to blame.
It’s a similar decline as the wild pheasant, but Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas are providing hope that pheasants can be brought back.
Can the same thing happen with wild quail?
That’s what the PGC wants to find out, and it recently finished a 10-year management plan for the bobwhite quail with the main goal to restore wild breeding populations in suitable habitat across the state.
The first step, according PGC game bird section supervisor Ian Gregg, is to review bird count data and find where, if anywhere, quail have been heard or seen. The agency will contract out that work, Gregg said, and then review the findings. The work is expected to begin by the end of this year.
“It could show us clusters or scattered areas of quail, or it could tell us we don’t have many wild quail left in the state,” he said.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Quail Forever (QF) and Pheasants Forever (PF) recently named John Wallace of Eaton, Ohio, as the organization’s new regional representative for Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. Wallace will work out of his home in the Columbia area and focus his efforts on supporting Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever chapters and members—as well as their activities— in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Wallace, a former Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, looks to grow Quail Forever’s presence in the three states, which are currently home to 25 Quail Forever chapters, six Pheasants Forever chapters and more than 3,000 PF/QF members. He will work at raising and expending funds on wildlife habitat and conservation education, and also work with local, state, and federal natural resource agencies on behalf of QF/PF chapters.
Wallace grew up in west central Ohio, where he spent most of his childhood fishing, hunting, and camping with family. He and his family have been members of a local rod and gun club for his entire life. “Belonging to a local sportsman’s club really helped me understand and appreciate the importance of conservation and being a part of a group of folks that share a passion,” says Wallace. “Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever chapter volunteers share that same passion and dedication, and it’s exciting to be a part of it!”
Though Missouri is one of the leading states for quail restoration, Wallace says it’s important to continue connecting local quail hunters to Quail Forever’s habitat mission. “Over my three and a half years with Pheasants Forever, I dealt directly with the Conservation Reserve Program and local Pheasants Forever chapters, helping to realize wildlife goals and maximize chapters' efficiencies at banquets and other events. I look forward to using these experiences in Missouri, as well as in Arkansas and Louisiana,” notes Wallace.
Wallace and his wife, Jamie, have two sons, Adam (4) and Wade (2). They also have two dogs—both boxers—named Mya and Rush, and one cat. In their daily lives, the family tries to incorporate as many outdoor activities as possible. At their young age, their boys already enjoy camping, fishing, and T-ball. “We are looking forward to life in Missouri, as it will bring many more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as a family,” says Wallace.
Quail Forever empowers county and local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent - the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to see the fruits of their efforts locally, while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice on federal and state conservation policy.
Wallace can be contacted at Jwallace@quailforever.org or (937) 459-8085. For all other inquiries, please contact Rehan Nana, Quail Forever public relations specialist, at (651) 209-4973 or Rnana@quailforever.org
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada.
Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.
Rehan Nana (651) 209-4973 or email Rehan
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
October 5 - 6, 2013
Who can participate?
- All youth of legal hunting age 16 and under who have completed
a hunter safety class and have the appropriate Junior Hunting
- Parents or guardians are encouraged to attend but cannot hunt.
- Youth will be paired with an experienced hunter who will
guide youth in tracking and harvesting these elusive game birds.
What activities are included?
- Hunt with a guide all day Saturday: exact schedule to be
Sunday hunting is on your own.
- Practice hunting and wilderness safety.
- Learn more about Gambel's quail and apply this knowledge
in the hunt.
- Learn field care and dressing of harvested game.
- Tour the Safari Club International's Sensory Safari exhibit trailer.
- Rangers will provide talks, tours, and camp activities.
What about meals?
- Meals are provided for Saturday breakfast and dinner.
- Bring your own lunch for Saturday and all meals for Sunday.
- Black Canyon Group Campground at Hole-in-the-Wall,
Mojave National Preserve
- Directions: 20 miles north of I-40 on Essex and Black Canyon Roads.
- No hookups; water and pit toilets available.
How do I sign up?
- Space is limited to the first 50 youth to register. Late registrants
will be placed on a waiting list.
- Additional information will be sent to successful registrants.
Read the original National Parks Service article
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Position helping to further the organization’s habitat mission
Lamar, Colo. - July 02 -
Quail Forever (QF) and Pheasants Forever (PF) recently hired Brandon Dye for the position of Quail Forever’s farm bill wildlife biologist in Lamar. Dye covers Kiowa, Bent, Prowers, and Baca Counties. In this replacement position, Dye will continue to work with area landowners, farmers and ranchers to implement wildlife habitat conservation measures.
Quail Forever's farm bill wildlife biologist program is designed to educate farmers and landowners about the benefits of conservation programs, as well as assist those landowners after programs have been implemented. Farm bill wildlife biologists add wildlife technical assistance in USDA offices to assist the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and other conservation partners with delivering conservation programs to landowners.
“We are very pleased to have Brandon join the Colorado farm bill wildlife biologist team and have no doubt he will be delivering conservation on the ground with eastern Colorado producers,” said Sam Lawry, Quail Forever western regional director. “The Lamar position is made possible from funding through NRCS, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Colorado Pheasants Forever chapters. Their support has lent itself to furthering Quail Forever’s habitat mission in Colorado.”
Dye is a Colorado native, who returns to the Centennial State from Northeastern California. He graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management. Prior to joining Pheasants Forever, Dye worked as a rangeland management specialist with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). There, he developed conservation plans in accordance with USDA standards, and provided in-office and in-field technical guidance and support for conservation planning and agricultural practices to landowners.
“Working for such a renowned organization like Quail Forever is a tremendous opportunity for me, and getting to do so back in my home state with great partner agencies, makes it even better,” said Brandon Dye. “I am looking forward to continuing habitat conservation efforts with Colorado landowners and working directly with our partners to further our legacy.”
Colorado is home to 16 Pheasants Forever chapters and 3,700 members. For more information on “The Habitat Organization” in Colorado, please contact Bob Hix, Quail Forever regional representative, at (303) 588-1542 or BHix@quailforever.org.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.
Rehan Nana (651) 209-4973 or email Rehan
Monday, July 8, 2013
by BILL COCHRAN
Quail experts from across the country are scheduled to gather at Hotel Roanoke July 23-26 as part of an effort by the National Bobwhite Technical Committee to restore this game bird that has declined precipitously over the past 30 years.
Participants don't have to look far to detect one of the major problems.
A couple miles up the road, there was an abundance of coveys in the 1960s, and I used them to train bird dogs on what now is Valley View Mall. This is an example of the loss of quail habitat as open agricultural land has grown up or been paved over.
All this renders restoration efforts difficult, but there will be people at the committee meeting dedicated to making it happen. Job one, in the opinion of many, is to restore habitat.
But there are other views about what needs to be done and how to accelerate the recovery. I want to talk about a couple of guys dedicated to them:
Bill Wilson is a lawyer and former member of the House of Delegates (1974-89), a quail hunter for 65 years who lives in Covington, an area where the call of a quail is seldom heard these days.
He believes contaminants - pesticides, acid rain - are a primary culprit in the rapid demise of quail, and would like to see researchers pay more attention to that through a baseline study.
Habitat is important, he agrees, but if quail are sucking in mercury when they sip the morning dew, then there is little benefit "to create a bed if there will be no birds to sleep in it," he said. "If habitat loss is the sole reason for decline, how do we explain the scarcity of quail in the many thousands of acres of cut-over land in Virginia? It doesn't make sense to me."
"I know Marc Puckett's patience is about at an end with me because I keep pestering him about the mercury poisoning issue," Wilson said.
Puckett is the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' head quail biologist. He is chairman of the quail technical committee's meeting in Roanoke. He is a strong advocate of good habitat and is one of the authors of the Virginia Bobwhite Quail Action Plan, the state's guideline for quail restoration.
"I personally believe habitat explains between 80 and 90 percent of the decline, but certainly not all of it," he said. "It does, however, represent the thing we can try to do the most about."
Wilson believes the General Assembly needs to appoint a legislative committee to probe the issue. Such a body could draw information from a broader base than the DGIF, he said. It could involve agriculture interests, VDOT, the forest products industry, utility companies and scientific organizations such as the Biodiversity Research Institute.
"If you are going to do something about this issue, you have to do it big and from the top down," Wilson said.
Charles McDaniel says you can't overemphasize the importance of habitat in the quail restoration effort, but he takes the process a couple of steps beyond that. The former chairman of the DGIF from Stafford advocates stocking birds, supplementary feeding and predator control, something many mainstream biologists have crossed off as futile.
So what does McDaniel do? He invites people to his 1,500-acre holding in King and Queen County to listen to the calls of cockbirds and to count the coveys flushed. Sometimes the count reaches 25.