“Unfinished Business”

 

Restoration of the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) — widely known as bobwhite quail — is major “unfinished business” of wildlife conservation.  White-tailed deer — done.  Wild turkey — done.  Beaver, alligator, wood ducks, giant Canada geese, bald eagles, river otters, black bears, peregrine falcons, etc. — done.  Granted, management issues remain, but the restoration is complete. Even restoration of continental duck populations is well on its way to success.  The wildlife profession is justifiably proud of these accomplishments.

Meanwhile, in the background, bobwhites and numerous species of associated grassland songbirds and other wildlife have slowly, but steadily, declined.  One of the most abundant and popular game species a half-century ago, bobwhites now are nearly unhuntable for most sportsmen.