Last updated 2010
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James Kelly, who also raises and releases quail in Sag harbor, also noticed tick population declines. He found one of his quail coveys, up to 35 birds, some three miles away in Bridgehampton.
Eric Burke, who initiated Quality Parks Long Island Quail Conservation Initiative, hasn't had much recent success compared to earlier years. He suspects a neighborhood cat, yet he thinks there is something else going on, and wants to use radio tagging to collect more field observations.
Wildlife Biologist, Chip Hamilton, continues population counts, and is active in more recent old field management via native seeding and mowing regimes. Potential mixed breeding of the few locally surviving quail with the raised and released birds (see map below) is his concern. This may change the local quail's ability to survive, as they seem to be shifting their food foraging behavior from grassland edges to more plentiful interior oak forests.
And so we gave up on them, until Mindy met Valita Durkin, at the 2009 New York State Outdoor Education Association (NYSOEA) conference in Fishkill. Valita was working with released flight pen conditioned birds at the Sharpe Reservation. She ordered older birds, directly from Lake Cumberland Game Farm, and was of the opinion that they were wilder. Quality Parks published: A Fighting Chance video.
Our introduction to quail conservation began in 2005, in our own backyard. We built pens, raised the chicks, and even introduced the idea to schools, outdoor education programs, and land managers. Out of these backyard projects, Eric Powers, then of Western Suffolk BOCES Outdoor Learning Lab, was able to annually involve about 400 students, teachers, private individuals, and volunteers. He heard multiple males calling each spring, and tick populations remained low. But house cats continued to take the heaviest quail toll (upwards of 50% or more). The birds we raised didn't know how to protect themselves.
Then in 1998, Harry Knoch, a NYSDEC wildlife manager, stressed the importance of maintaining old fields for grassland bird species, including quail. At the time, management of these old fields, including the planting of what are now considered undesirable invasive species, had stopped
Historically, NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) released both pheasants and quail annually by the thousands from the 1930's to the 1970's. There were "incubators full of quail chicks, breeding pens, and thousands of birds on display in the larger retaining pens," stated the 1971 NY Times article.
- Pine Barrens - Wildlife Mapping Workshop, Oct 15, 1998
- Budget Cut Closing State's Middle Island Game Farm
- Ecology of Northern Bobwhite Quail in Missouri
- National Bobwhite Quail Conservation Initiative
- Avalon Park & Preserve - Quail Restoration
- Friends of Connetquot - Quail Release Program
- Quail Of Eastwoods