The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch : Part 2

To that extent, the RPQRR has one of the most intensive trapping programs for bobwhites in the country. (Photo by Russell Graves)

By Russell A. Graves

The Reason for the Research
On the research ranch, there is always a bustle of activity. Research ranges from quail counts to monitoring long term population trends or studying the effects of predation on quail ecology. One of their most ambitious projects that’s currently underway is to trap and translocate scaled quail and in an attempt to establish them in areas where they have been extirpated.

“The RPQRR operates under the maxim that everything points towards quail,” said Brad Kubecka, who’s recently defended his master’s thesis and has done research work at the research ranch since 2013, first as an intern and then as a graduate student. “Everything in an ecosystem is interrelated. As such, RPQRR began collecting data on not only quail, but the wildlife community at the ranch. This includes data collected on small mammal populations, raptors, predators, and vegetation.”

Kubecka said that very few graduate projects can truly understand an ecological system from a two or even three-year study. Fortunately, one of RPQRR’s goals is to develop a long-term data set to help understand what makes quail populations tick.
“There are two main demographic parameters that help us understand how populations operate,” he advises. “They are survival and reproduction. As such, interns and technicians monitor bobwhite and scaled quail using radio-telemetry and GPS transmitters throughout the year.

To that extent, the RPQRR has one of the most intensive trapping programs for bobwhites in the country. In the past 10 years, the RPQRR has trapped and banded over 14,000 bobwhite and scaled quail, placing radio-tags on approximately 10 percent of those caught.

To read more pick up a copy of the May 2018 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.