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National Quail Symposium Proceedings

Abstract

Many facets of Montezuma quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae mearnsi) population dynamics, such as survival and causes of mortality, are unknown because of limited or lack of mark–recapture studies on wild populations of this species. Much of what is known about this species comes from casual observations in the field or from dog-assisted flush-count surveys. Further insight into rate and causes of mortality for this species is necessary to ensure proper conservation measures. We evaluated survival and causes of mortality of Montezuma quail in southeastern Arizona from winter 2007 to spring 2010. Survival was determined from quail captured, radiotagged, and monitored among 3 separate study sites. In 2 of these sites hunting was permitted; and in 1 site (the control) hunting was not permitted. Estimation of accurate mortality rates in hunted sites was complicated by large quantities of censored data, some of which was attributable to lack of reported mortalities from hunting. Mortality in the control site may have been compounded by a combination of stochastic events (i.e., wildfire, freezing) occurring during the study. Mortality rate for all sites were higher than any estimates reported or hypothesized in known scientific literature. The estimated rate of survival, combined among the 3 sites, was 21.9% from autumn 2008 to autumn 2009.

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