Date: 6/14/20 1:37 pm From: Phil Davis <pdavis...> Subject: Re: [MDBirding] putting the Northern back in Bobwhite
For you history buffs ...
I'm not sure how widely known this is known, but "quail" have been introduced in Maryland for over 150 years. US Biological Survey ornithologist, Dr. Alexander Wetmore, did a fair amount of research on this back in the 1920s.
A few historical summary factoids:
In the 1870s, "quail" (Bobwhite) were translocated from Alabama and Georgia to Eastern Massachusetts. Birds from Kansas and Alabama were also introduced into MD.
From 1916-1922, about 31,600 quail were released in PA, with about 25,000 released there during 1921-22.
During 1921-22, approximately 22,000 "Mexican Quail" (Colinus virginianus texanus), from northeastern Mexico, were released in MD. Smaller lots were imported for a few years prior to this. About 400 were released in Dorchester County on specific farms. At the MD State Game Farm, it was proved that the Mexican Quail could breed with the local "Eastern Bobwhite" form (C. v. virginianus); however, in the wild it seems that a large number of the imported Mexican Quail either died or were killed without having bred. Therefore, the hybridization impact on the Eastern populations, although noticeable, was probably not as great as it could have been.
FYI ... If you have a historical interest in quail and did not see the article I wrote for the Yellowthroat about eight years ago, you can find it here ...
In 2012, I published an article in The Maryland Yellowthroat about quail (Northern Bobwhite) surveys and winter feeding that were conducted by the DC Police in conjunction with the US Biological Survey and the DC Audubon Society between 1918 and 1928.
I haven't heard details in a little while, but I know over the last few years PA was undergoing a lot of habitat management on a select number of Wildlife Management Areas in preparation for a major Bobwhite translocation effort. Translocation studies have been ongoing for sometime now in the SE USA with great success, as long as the habitat is in good shape and will be managed on a regular basis. Translocation is very different than raising bobwhites for release, translocation involves trapping wild adults prior to spring covey breakup. The birds are then transported to the new site and released as a group.
Virginia has been working hard and for a long time on managing bobwhite habitat, they have a team of private land biologists that work with landowners interested in managing their properties for bobwhite. While I don't know the distribution of the different populations around the state, I would image if you have been hearing bobwhite for 30 years in the same area they are more than likely wild (of course there needs to be lots of good habitat for population persistence).
Dan Small Chestertown, MD
=================================================== Phil Davis, Secretary MD/DC Records Committee 2549 Vale Court Davidsonville, Maryland 21035 USA 301-261-0184 <pdavis...> ===================================================
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