Bobwhite Quail in Minnesota
Minnesota’s Quail Forever Coordinator, Thurman Tucker, has been collecting data and tracking sighting of Minnesota bobwhite for over 30 years. Certainly, if you have seen (or know those who have) bobwhite in Minnesota, he would appreciate if you would fill out the Bobwhite Sighting form found within this Web site.
At this time, there are believed to be less than 1,000 quail in Minnesota. That said, within the last 10 years, some of the most impressive quail habitat projects are just now beginning to mature. In Houston and Fillmore counties alone, there are dozens of projects and nearly 1,000 acres specifically designed to help establish healthy quail coveys that can sustain themselves. Within the past few years, more landowners and volunteers have joined our efforts.
It is important for all readers to understand the difficulty quail have in Minnesota winters. Based on snow depths, it is unlikely that quail would ever gain a significant stronghold in the northern half of this state. Unlike the pheasant, quail are very small birds that can’t get around easily to various food sources when the snow depths get more than one foot deep. In the southern half of the state, the varied terrain, prairies and woodland edges can give them enough cover and protection from snow depths that they can survive most winters. Even more, it’s important to understand the fairly simple ways you can help the quail during those winters where snow accumulations reach more than one foot. Make sure to check out the page in this Web site that focuses on “Weather & Quail.”
Although this Web site is fairly new, in the near future we will be collecting quail sighting data and mapping it for our visitors to get excited about the impact that our efforts are starting to realize. The historical data Mr. Tucker has collected, when comparing to current data will be both interesting and inspiring.
Here’s a great story that was published in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer in 2007. It discusses quail populations in Minnesota, Quail Forever and the efforts of Thurman Tucker.