FAYETTEVILLE – Indian Creek and East Fork Wildlife Areas are “edging” their way into managing habitat for bobwhite quail according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The habitat project will be a three year effort to improve Northern bobwhite quail habitat in southwest Ohio.
Conservation partners; The Ohio State University, ODNR-Division of Wildlife, Pheasants/Quail Forever, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spent both time and money in recent years to see what type of habitat quail prefer and then implement programs to literally put that habitat on the ground.
OSU research students spent many hours in the field following radio-marked bobwhite quail across farms to identify exactly what type of habitat the birds call home. Based on these findings the wildlife area staff is cutting and leaving trees along the woodland edges referred to as “edge feathering.” The feathering creates immediate brushy habitat by dropping tree tops on the ground. This practice also opens the tree canopy to allow more light to hit the ground which stimulates brushy plant growth. Quail in the vicinity of these brushy areas will periodically utilize them for protection, especially during the winter months to escape harsh weather and predators.
The feathering projects are being done in areas that already have grassland nesting habitat established. The grasslands will create a flowery grassy edge, providing the plant structure quail need for nest building and raising young.
“The early stages of edge feathering are not always pleasing to the eye but the benefits to wildlife will be worth a few months of waiting for spring to green up the area,” said Indian Creek Wildlife Area Manager Randy Morgan. “As we get into summer the grasses will cover the area and the protective brush piles will blend into the surroundings.”
Landowners wanting to improve their property for quail and other wildlife can get funding assistance from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and other conservation programs. For more information about quail in Ohio and Quail Habitat Management, visit wildohio.gov.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
Submitted by ODNR Division of Wildlife.