View Full Version : Predation On Quail

Art Eatman
August 7, 2009, 07:05 PM
Browsing through my August issue of "Texas Wildlife" (from Texas Wildlife Association, a really worthwhile organization for hunters in Texas) I ran across some comments from a ten-year study on quail.

Cameras were set up on some 120 nests. Coyotes were the #1 predator, followed by skunks and fire ants. No nest predation by feral hogs.

Note: In Florida, rat snakes were found to be the primary nest predator.

Studying raptor effects on birds out in pastures, the problem varied with rainfall and vegetation. Less predation in wet years, with more herbaceous plants at taller heights to provide better concealment.

August 7, 2009, 07:59 PM
As many wild hogs as there are in Texas, I am amazed that they don't eat the quail eggs.

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if wild hogs eradicated quail and wild turkeys in that state.
The sense of smell of the hog is incredible, and they are omnivorous, they love eggs.
Go figure.

August 7, 2009, 08:00 PM
As an aside from your post here, I had someone question why I might want to shoot a bobcat, as I had just described in a post. My answer was that there was much less trapping of both bobcats and coyotes, and that there were no longer any natural predators in our area for either. Because of the increase of both coyote and bobcat populations, our quail populations had steadily decreased over the last 10-15 yrs.

There are no free rides. If we allow predators to increase in numbers, without a corresponding increase in their harvest, we will find some declining populations of other species, or other problems. I hope everyone is aware of the difference today, vs 20 yrs ago in mountain lion problems out west. This is a very good example as to what may happen when we allow animals to have the upper hand, when we are NOT allowed to use our true intelligence and harvest properly.

roy reali
August 7, 2009, 08:56 PM
Any mention of feral cats in that study?

August 7, 2009, 09:07 PM
My first thought was also ferel cats. Although they probably leave eggs alone, I would think they would be hell on nesting quail. I remember a time or two when our barn cats came home with quail.

August 7, 2009, 09:19 PM
Here in Florida Yankees are the problem....................

Seriously though, I spoke with the folks at the FWC about quail last year while doing research for a article. From what they said the demise of the quail here in FL, and I gather over much of the South, is for the biggest part attributable to habitat.

Seems that between the changes in agricultural practices, larger fields and the like, and changes in silvaculture (Tree farming)methods the plants and cover necessary to healthy quail populations are way off.

According to the FWC part of the restoration effort focused spicifically on how silvaculture accomplished undergrowth control. Seems that regular burns, much as would happen in a natural system and for so long replicated by controled burns, are a significant limiting factor.

Here in FL, due to the greatly increased population ( YANKEES! ), it is now rather hard to do controled burns in many parts of the state.

Fat White Boy
August 7, 2009, 10:45 PM
I have some pictures of a bobcat that was stalking a covey of Valley Quail I was taking pictures of. I didn't even know it was there until I crept up into the same Juniper where it was hiding...It was mad! I ruined its dinner! Out in the desert(I'm in California), Road Runners kill a lot of quail chicks, too.

August 7, 2009, 10:51 PM
Inter'sting site 'bout quail predation


August 7, 2009, 10:55 PM
I can beleive coyotes were #1, just due to sheer numbers. I would have thought fire ants before skunks though...

what part of the state did they do the study in? I Know in east texas you do not see quail, and most people have told me it was due to fire ants.

August 7, 2009, 11:14 PM
I have a friend who lives in S.E.Texas and he said after the Hogs moved in you don't see much of anything else

roy reali
August 7, 2009, 11:22 PM
I have heard that ravens and crows take their share of eggs too.

August 8, 2009, 12:10 AM
biswv, we have the same problem up heah but it's flatlanders , you can control a burning house or garage you just got to ventilate. LOL

August 8, 2009, 08:03 AM
My dog brought home a tiny, 2 day old bunny one day. She dropped the rabbit on the porch, and the little guy was unhurt!
He was the size of a big mouse.
I got hold of the animal rescue people, and they took him a few hours later. He was still quite healthy, they told me he would do fine, and they would release him into the woods in a few months.
This was in April, I told these guys I was surprised that Mrs. Rabbit had a litter that early.
They told me that Mrs. Rabbit had a litter 4 or 5 times a year.
I asked, with so many baby bunnies running around, what was the main danger faced by a little rabbit.
They told me that a little rabbit is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the forest. They said that just about every predator will eat a bunny.
They said that crows are especially bad, they will peck a little bunny on the head to kill it, and then eat it.

Gee, I didn't see that when I saw Bambi. In that film the birds and the bunnies of the forest were all friends, it was only men with rifles that would harm a forest creature.

Uncle Buck
August 8, 2009, 08:55 AM
We have a big predator problem here in my part of Missouri, they mostly college students, bothering this displaced Yankee. We try to chase them all down to Florida by telling them about beaches and bikini clad beauties.

Seriously though, I have lost more than 500 chickens, turkeys, quail, ducks and geese (combined, not each) to coyotes, foxes, racoon's, skunks, opossums and the gawd blasted feral cats! in just the last two years.

I actually had a wildlife manager tell me I should put rat poison in hamburger and throw it around the edge of my property. He said it would take a few months to get rid of my problem, but I have a problem with these critters just suffering. I would rather put them down quickly.

My first year in Missouri (1992) I went quail hunting with some friends and we must have stomped up dozens of large coveys. My buddies just thought that was the funniest thing they had seen in quite awhile, me jumping and running in place as those quail burst from cover. (Contrary to their assertions, I did not scream like a little girl.) Now for the record, they did not really surprise me when they burst from the ground, I was jumping and running in place to avoid stepping on the little buggers.

We went back to the same places to hunt dove again and I think we saw one covey that had about three birds in it. The place looked the same as when we first hunted there. I wonder if my nephew will ever get the chance to hunt that fine bird?

roy reali
August 8, 2009, 09:40 AM
I am not scientist, bioligist, or an expert on wildlife habits. However, I can speak about personal experience.

I used to live by a river. This river had nice nature trails. I would explore that area with my dog almost every weekend. The first couple of years I hardly saw any birds at all. Feral cats, that was a different story. They were everywhere. Then some coyotes had migrated up-river to this area.

The feral cat population went down and the bird population went up. I even started seeing covies of quail.

I theorized that the coyotes were feasting on the feral cats. The birds then had one less predator and their populations grew.

I really do think that feral cats are a major problem for wildlife.

August 8, 2009, 09:48 AM
We have the usual coyotes and bobcats that prey on quail. We also have roadrunners and they prey on the baby quail. Not unusual to see adults trying to scare a roadrunner away from their young.

Art Eatman
August 8, 2009, 06:49 PM
The study was done at the Kleberg WMA, near Kingsville, SW of Corpus Christi. Bobwhite country. Semi-desert brush country at the north side of the King Ranch.

No mention of feral cats.

I know feral cats are a problem for the birds, but no idea about nest-dsturbance.

Generally, more coyotes = fewer feral cats.

Fat White Boy
August 9, 2009, 11:18 PM
Fisherman66- I couldn't get the video to play. There is something is wrong with the title, though. It is listed as "Campbell's Quail". The correct name is "Gambel's Quail."

roy reali
August 11, 2009, 12:03 AM
"Campbell's Quail".
Might be a new soup flavor!:D

August 14, 2009, 03:55 PM
I've always heard that the roadrunners will put a hurting on the quail population also. Where we hunt, the coyotes have just about eliminated all the turkeys in the area. There use to be turkeys everywhere, but until last year, they haven't been seen in about 10 yrs. At the begining of last season, we saw 15 hens. No one would shoot them hoping they were making a come back, but everytime you would go out, you would see them but there was one or two less each time. By the end of the season, they were all gone.