Winter Weather and Quail Survival

With the harsh winter conditions that much of the midwest United States has faced over the past few weeks, landowners and wildlife managers are concerned about the survival of quail. Prolonged periods of snow and ice cover is hard on all wildlife but especially bird like quail that make their living on the ground. Quail get their food off the ground and a layer of ice makes that hard to do.

Donnie Buckland, of Quail Unlimited, has a nice podcast that addresses some of the questions and concerns related to harsh winter weather and quail survival. You can listen to that by clicking here. In the podcast he talks about supplemental feeding of quail during tough times, and discusses how feeding can a double edged sword for quail. The surplus of available food is an obvious benefit, however quail are most at risk for predation when feeding.

The concept of supplemental feeding is worth reading up on, especially if you are a land manager, or are interested in quail management. Tall Timbers Research Station has a nice piece on supplemental feeding that you can link to by clicking here.

There is also a nice article that discusses the pros and cons of supplemental feeding from You can link to that article by clicking here.

The bottom line is, that chances are quail mortality may be higher this winter due to the severe weather. But with proper management and a nose to the grindstone, the long term effect should be minimal as long as quality habitat is present for the surviving birds.

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