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Bobwhite camp opens eyes

“The song-birds leave us at the summer's close, only the empty nests are left behind, and pipings of the quail among the sheaves.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The quail population in Texas has been steadily decreasing over the past 40 years. This decline is due in part to improper management of their natural habitat. Quail need a habitat of abandoned fields such as lay-out or CRP land, pastures or brushy meadows.

Quail nest on the ground and find the areas around the edges of cleared farmland particularly attractive even though this leaves them vulnerable to predators that find this area excellent for hiding and hunting.

The annual survival rate of the quail both hunted and un-hunted is from 5 percent to30 percent. Poor habitat, predators such as fire ants, and disease account for the high mortality rate. The more natural habitat we destroy, the harder it becomes for the quail to repopulate. We can help reverse the decline by creating patches for nesting, foraging and escape cover. Roller-chopping, prescribed fire treatments and grazing also may help create a habitat beneficial to the repopulation of the quail.

Texas Rolling Plains Bobwhite Camp recently opened my eyes to the need to protect and conserve our natural resources and preserve nature for the next generations of Texans. The little Bobwhite quail and its declining population should serve as a wake-up call. Each living creature plays an important role in the environment and the cycle of life. If the quail population is allowed to keep diminishing, the impact on other animal populations will certainly be felt in the future.

Texas Brigades Camps afforded me the opportunity to learn more about the unique Texas environments and to become a wildlife advocate. I intend to major in Agricultural Sciences in college and hope the knowledge and experience I have gained from being a part of Texas Brigades will serve me well as I work toward my degree. Spending a week surrounded by nature and by people knowledgeable about all aspects of nature was a life changing event.

TAGS: Management
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