A six-year cooperative study of quail on two western Oklahoma wildlife management areas has confirmed that weather and habitat influence sizable fluctuations in the number of birds each year. This finding was among several important results that are detailed in this report, released by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station in the Division of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University in January 2019.
Tell Judkins, upland game biologist for the Wildlife Department, pointed out some notable findings from this long-term study:
- Surface water helps to concentrate quail but does not help to increase the number of quail.
- Quail survival is affected more by extreme cold (near 0 degrees F) than by extreme heat (near 100 degrees F) as long as shrubs were available for loafing and shade during the hot weather.
- About one in five bobwhite nests contained eggs from two different hens, which could indicate a survival strategy of mixing genetics in a single clutch.
- Strip disking did not show much benefit on Beaver River WMA due to the amount of open ground and forbs favored by quail already present.