Wild Northern Bobwhite Quail Reintroduced in Pennsylvania

For the first time since being extirpated from their natural range in the mid-2000s, wild bobwhite quail were reintroduced in Pennsylvania this week. Roughly 100 wild quail, captured from multiple locations across the eastern U.S., were released at the Letterkenny Army Depot in Franklin County. The release is part of a years long effort to improve bobwhite habitat at the Letterkenny Depot and bring back the iconic bird — which once flourished in The Keystone State. 

Quail habitat restoration began at The Letterkenny Army Depot in 2017. Since then, roughly 2,600 acres have been restored or improved. Quail Forever Habitat Specialists were responsible for much of the on-the-ground restoration work over the past several years, along with help from Letterkenny staff, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and countless volunteers. Donations to the project were made possible in part by the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Pheasants Forever, including the purchase of a 12-foot offset disc used in establishing early-successional habitat. 

“We’re incredibly excited to be moving into the final stages of this project,” said Julia Smith, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Pennsylvania state coordinator. “Of course, the work won’t stop once the birds are released. We’ll continue to assist our partners to ensure this habitat is maintained and continues to expand and flourish.” 

The wild birds were trapped and re-located from a number of locations, including Virginia, Kentucky and the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy in northern Florida. Quail were released on March 19 with more release dates to follow, allowing for a gradual change in the habitat. 

For questions about this project, contact Julia Smith at jsmith@pheasantsforever.org or 814-634-5176.  

About Quail Forever

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever make up the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 420,000 members, supporters and partners is dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 580,000 habitat projects benefiting 26.5 million acres. 

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Mikayla Peper