The Missouri Department of Conservation says this late summer period may be a good time to evaluate quail habitat on farms and acreages.
The Department says there are steps that landowners can take to improve the habitat, and thus improve the chances for quail to grow. The department says one of the steps may be being cautious about mowing grassy or weedy spots in field edges and pastures that may conceal young birds. Postponing or avoiding any unnecessary mowing may boost quail numbers.
The Department’s research indicates that 35 percent of all quail nests area set to hatch in August. August is also an important month for the adult birds that had a previous failed nest or didn’t nest until late summer.
Plant mixes of cover strips or pastures can be evaluated. The best habitat would have a good mix of forbs and grasses. Another summer check is walking fields to see if the plant mix is hosting insects that quail feed upon.
A late summer need for quail is thickets with shrubs that provide both shade and air flow at ground level, such as wild plum, sumac, rough-leaved dogwood or blackberry.
MDC staff can help private landowners with quail habitat. In some cases, cost share programs for habitat improvement are available.
To learn more about how MDC can help private landowners with wildlife habitat, visit https://mdc.mo.gov/property. For tips on bobwhite quail habitat management, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z8Q.