Title

Predator Impacts on Translocated California Quail in Northeast Texas

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Ag Science and Natural Resources

Date of Award

Fall 2020

Abstract

Native northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations have been in decline for over a century and are undetectable in many parts of northeast Texas. As a result, quail hunters and quail conservation dollars have also declined. California valley quail (Callipepla californica) have the potential to provide an alternative game bird for regional hunters in northeast Texas, an area vacant of bobwhites. Valley quail were translocated from Idaho to northeast Texas in 2019 to determine the feasibility of establishing a sustainable population. The goal of this study was to determine the presence, relative abundance, and potential impact of predators on translocated wild valley quail. Motion-triggered cameras, scent stations and simulated nests (May–July 2019–2020) were used to record predator presence, and compare relative frequency and potential impact on nesting valley quail between the 2019–2020 study years. Raptor presence was recorded along a 5.8 km transect. The most common visitors to the predator scent stations were raccoons, feral hogs, and white-tailed deer. There was no difference in predator frequencies between 2019 and 2020. Median nest survival time was 5.5 d. greater (7.5 d) in 2020 than 2019 (2 d). Red-tailed hawks were the most frequent aerial predator. Mesomammal predator load was 3.8–19.1 times higher than in a similar study, making mitigation of predation risk an important consideration for future translocation efforts to this region.

Advisor

Kelly Reyna

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Animal Sciences | Life Sciences

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