Date of Award
Master of Science
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Ralph W. Dimmick
Michael R. Pelton, R.L. Murphee
The study area was a 578-acre-tract within a quail management area on the Ames Plantation in West Tennessee. A total of 234 quail were trapped in 1971 and 410 quail were trapped in 1972. Seven quail (five unmated males and one mated pair) were radiotracked.
Quail were very sedentary during the breeding season (99 percent moved less than 1/2 mile). The average home range area of unmated males during the breeding season was 17.0 acres. Quail showed little inclination to switch areas used from season to season. Little change occurred in range used from spring to summer (98 percent moved less than 1/2 mile), summer to fall (97 percent moved less than 1/2 mile), and breeding season to breeding season (100 percent moved less than 1/2 mile). Ninety-six percent of the observations of color-marked birds were within 1/2 mile of their marking point.
Daily activity patterns suggest a minor morning activity peak of short duration and a major, more lengthy, afternoon activity peak. Unmated males, though, were responsive to the call of an unmated female at any time of the day. At least a limited amount of mate interchange occurred during the study.
Population estimates derived from a Lincoln index and from trapping records suggest that approximately 700 quail (1.2 quail per acre) used the area early in the 1972 breeding season. A population estimate based on a count of whistling cocks yielded a lower estimate - suggesting that not all unmated males whistle on any given morning. The number of different males whistling and the total number of whistles heard were greater during the period of sunrise to 40 minutes after sunrise than they were during the period of 40 to 75 minutes after sunrise.
Saunders, Ronald Harry, "Some behavioral and demographic characteristics of a bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) population. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1973.