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Scientific Journal Articles

At Quail-Tech™, we make decisions based upon data and techniques linked to demographics in the field. Our successes are backed up by publications in the scientific literature. Here are summaries of some recent, relevant publications and links to the actual publications online.

Broadcast Supplemental Feeding and Northern Bobwhite Demographic in Texas
Authors: John W. McLaughlin, Derek S. Wiley, C. Brad Dabbert and Theron M. Terhune (2019)

Northern bobwhite abundance is constantly fluctuating up and down and it is hypothesized that food availability may play a role. Broadcast supplemental feeding is an important management technique when food may be limited. We divided our study area into three zones: areas which received full (300 lbs/ mile, half (150 lbs/miles), and no feed. We marked  over 250 birds with radio transmitters and tracked them over the course of two years in the years following the devastating 2012 drought. We observed that broadcasting supplemental feeding at both full and half feed had a positive impact on survival, especially during the winter season. 

Effects of Food Supplementation on the Nesting Dynamics of Wild Northern Bobwhite
Authors: Byron R. Buckley, Alicia K. Andes and C. Brad Dabbert (2018)

Food availability is vital to female reproduction for Northern bobwhites. Lack of nutrition can lead to small egg size, clutch size, and decreased hatching success. We used broadcast supplemental feed to examine nest initiation, nesting duration, nesting attempts, nesting success, egg volume, and clutch size. Two of eight areas were designated controlled areas or non-fed areas, while six areas had feed broadcast into the vegetation along roads. We radiomarked 196 females divided between fed and non-fed areas. We concluded that although supplemental feeding positively impacted nesting season duration and slightly impacted nest initiation, there were no clear differences in egg volume, clutch size or nest success between control and fed areas. With an increase in nesting attempts due to broadcast supplemental feeding, overall production and success can be promoted.

Effects of Broadcasting Supplemental Feed into Roadside Vegetation on Home Range and Survival of Female Northern Bobwhite
Authors: Byron R. Buckley, Alicia, K. Andes, Blake A. Grisham and C. Brad Dabbert (2015)

To create a stable population of Northern bobwhite, landowners must use reliable and efficient management techniques. Habitat management must always be satisfied before any intensive management will be successful. Broadcast supplemental feeding is an additional technique which improved bobwhite demographics. During the historic drought of the early 2010s we broadcast grain sorghum into the roadside vegetation on a ranch with 197 bobwhite hens outfitted with radio transmitters. Bobwhite hens in zones with grain broadcast into the vegetation had better survival than bobwhites in zones not fed, while maintaining the same size home range. 

Use of a Thermal Camera to Aid in Capturing Northern Bobwhite Quail Chicks
Authors: Alicia K. Andes, Byron R. Buckley, Thomas L. Warren, Paul C. Woods, Sean R. Yancey and C. Brad Dabbert (2012)

Understanding Northern bobwhite chick survival and brood ecology is an important facet of quail research that has frustrated many biologists in the past. Chicks are more difficult to capture and track than adult bobwhites and are more susceptible to mortality from environmental factors. This study used handheld thermal cameras in a controlled and a wild setting to determine success rate of capturing chicks. Bobwhite females were captured and given a transmitter. Once monitored females successfully hatched chicks, we used thermal cameras to locate the heat signature of the brood and collect individual chicks. We concluded using thermal cameras was a cost efficient and accurate way of capturing bobwhite chicks.

Clinical Variables of Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata) in the Southern High Plains of Texas
Authors: Greg D. Pleasant, C. Brad Dabbert, Robert B. Mitchell and Byron R. Buckley (2012)

Trapping and handling of quail can be extremely stressful on the bird and impact their survival. Understanding clinical variables of a species can be used to understand health. We captured 172 scaled quail and collected, blood samples. This was the first study to collect and analyze packed-cell volume, calcium, total protein, uric acid, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase in scaled quail. These variables add to a growing list of contributors towards stress when capturing and handling. Packed-cell volume, calcium, total protein and uric acid were at normal levels for scaled quail, while aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase were elevated due to stressor during the trapping process. 

Invertebrate Abundance at Northern Bobwhite Brood Locations in the Rolling Plains of Texas 
Authors: Thomas L. Warren, Sean R. Yancey and C. Brad Dabbert (2012)

A vital factor to Northern bobwhite chick survival is diet, which provides the energy for development. Small invertebrates provide protein for chicks that is needed in the first few weeks of life. This research focused on examining if there was a correlation between brooding site and abundance of invertebrates. Hens were trapped and tracked to find nest sites. During the first 2 weeks after chicks were hatched, invertebrate samples were collected in areas where broods were observed. Samples were also taken from random locations to get an overall understanding of invertebrate abundance on the landscape. Samples were organized by Order and location. Analysis concluded that there was no difference in invertebrate abundance at brooding and random locations. 

Nesting Ecology and Survival of Scaled Quail in the Southern High Plains of Texas
Authors: Greg D. Pleasant, C. Brad Dabbert and Robert B. Mitchell (2006)

Scaled quail have consistently declined over much Texas. Stable populations of quail are produced by high reproductive output and survival. We placed transmitters on scaled quail hens to track them during the breeding season and find locations of nest. Hens and nest sites were consistently observed to allow us to analyze and predict hen and chick survival, nest success, and egg characteristics. Several different measurements were taken of the vegetation in and around the nest sites. Vegetation composition dictated available cover and food that was vital to survival. The increased availability of food and cover positively influenced survival of hens and chicks and the success of nests. One attribute that was not impacted by vegetation type was depredation. Managing for prime quail habitat can have a positive correlation with the future of quail populations.

Does Muscular Damage during Capture and Handling Handicap Radiomarked Northern Bobwhite? 
Authors: C. Wade Abbott, C. Brad Dabbert, Duane R. Lucia and Robert B. Mitchell (2005)

The capture and handling of avian species is necessary for banding and radio telemetry; however, capture myopathy, also known as muscle damage, can lead to several negative effects after release. While not every captured bird experience capture myopathy, complications often lead to mortality, which greatly effects mortality rates in research. Studies have shown that muscle damage can be treated with vitamin E and selenium. We tested this by capturing Northern bobwhite in northwest Texas and injecting a treatment group with Vitamin E and selenium and injected another group with a saline control to see if the treatment affected survival rate. Using statistical analysis, we found survival rate was greater in bobwhites injected with the vitamin E and selenium compared to bobwhite injected with saline.

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