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Revitalizing Bobwhite Quail Conservation Efforts in Iowa: A Path to Thriving Populations
Iowa Ag Connection - 05/25/2023

Bobwhite quails, known for their distinct call, are iconic birds in Iowa and the Midwest. However, their population has been declining due to habitat loss. To address this, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has published a comprehensive nine-page guide called "Northern Bobwhites in Iowa."

Authored by Adam Janke, an extension wildlife specialist, and Riggs Wilson, a graduate student, the guide covers the life cycle of bobwhites, habitat considerations, and their dietary needs.

Bobwhites rely on specific covers throughout the year. For nesting, they need bunch grasses interspersed with wildflowers. Native warm-season bunch grasses like little bluestem and sideoats grama are recommended as they provide overhead concealment and open spaces for movement.

During brood rearing, a less dense cover is needed, allowing young bobwhites to move along the ground and access insects. Winter requires overhead cover near food sources, such as shrubby vegetation and thickets.

The guide also provides detailed information on 12 common food sources, including grasses, forbs, shrubs, and field crops. Charts and graphics help establish habitat across the entire farm or property.

Bobwhite habitat can be created by allowing idle areas to grow into plants, grasses, forbs, or shrubs. Abandoned farm lots, roadside ditches, and fencerows hold potential if the vegetation meets their needs.

For more information, contact Adam Janke at 515-294-7429 or ajanke@iastate.edu. By prioritizing habitat creation, Iowans can contribute to the preservation and flourishing of bobwhite quail populations in the state.

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