Midsummer Quail Report: Arizona

307ae06c-4758-4dff-8b84-c8e4dc24949b By Chad Love - Editor, Quail Forever
 

Weather

“As far as the weather goes, we had an incredibly long, dry spell last year between July and January,” says Johnathan O’Dell, migratory game bird biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “This made scenting conditions pretty tough during the quail season last year. The lackluster winter rains didn't do much for Gambel's quail as the spring breeding call counts were 50 percent below the short-term average. In other words, likely a down year for Gambel's quail. The summer monsoon rains are building now, which play a significant role in Mearns' quail production, so we'll have to wait and see what happens yet for them. At times, when the winter rains aren't good, scaled quail will delay nesting until the summer rains come. I would suspect that is what we'll see this year as well.”
 

Habitat

“The habitat is very dry right now, but you have to remember that Gambel's are the only true desert bird, so this is normal," explains O'Dell. "Scaled quail are an arid grassland bird and Mearns' quail are a sub-neotropical bird.”
 

Programs

“The habitat work being conducted through the borderland restoration project by the U.S. Forest Service is a good step forward for Mearns' quail,” O'Dell states.
 

Prospects

“It's still too early to forecast what the season might look like for scaled and Mearns', but we're hopeful," says O'Dell.