Grants and Contracts Details
ABSTRACT: Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations have been in a state of chronic decline over the past half-century. Although the drivers behind these declines are varied, the most important factors include habitat loss/degradation and low survival/productivity within otherwise adequate habitats. One pathway to stabilizing/increasing local bobwhite populations is through elevated recruitment. Although improvements to recruitment rates can be made through a number of management techniques, one of the most straightforward methods is through improved nutrition (i.e., via supplemental feeding and enhanced natural forage availability). In some portions of the northern bobwhite range, high quality forage can be maintained/enhanced through prescribed fire and other means, however, in southeastern North Carolina, where low quality soils naturally preclude highly productive vegetation, nutritional enhancements may be made using methods like supplemental feeding and irrigation to enhance soil productivity. Nutritional supplementation has been shown to improve conditions for bobwhite but has not been adequately investigated on low-quality sites in the Southeastern US, particularly in North Carolina. The standard food distribution method on many bobwhite plantations uses a spin broadcast feeder but this may be a poor distribution method in parts of eastern North Carolina where open cover conditions necessitate that quail must venture away from cover to forage on supplemental feed. Likewise, although traditional quail management recommendations suggest a feeding rate of two bushels per acre per year, this may be inadequate in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina where natural forage is limited. Finally, irrigation may provide a method of enhancing soil productivity and, thus, nutrition for northern bobwhite, but this has not been adequately examined. To this end, we propose a study to assess northern bobwhite demographic responses to the application of enhanced supplemental feed (through proposed improvements to quantity, method, and type [chick-specific feeds]) and irrigation.
|Effective start/end date
|8/1/22 → 7/31/25
- Orton Foundation: $768,703.00
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