Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Ralph W. Dimmick

Committee Members

Michael R. Pelton, James T. Tanner


This study was conducted on a 214 acre area of the Ames Plantation, Fayette County, Tennessee. Information on winter behavior of bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) was obtained through flushing, trapping, color-marking, and telemetering quail during January-March, 1970. Coveys were most active during the two hours after daybreak. Increased activity after mid-afternoon followed six hours of limited movement. Weather conditions weakly affected covey movements. Move-ments increased on warmer days. During rainy or windy weather, coveys remained sheltered under vegetation much of the time. Coveys usually aggregated as an intruder approached. This defense mechanism allows the covey to flush as a unit, startling the intruder. Flush behavior was greatly influenced by vegetation within 200 yards of the covey. Coveys tended not to move much during the day after being flushed. Most covey ranges located along a field trial course were abandoned within a few days after the start of the trials. Since unaffected coveys remained within their range, the shuffle produced an exodus of quail from the field trial course. Covey ranges averaged 16.3 acres. Most ranges were overlapping. Coveys spent little time in cultivated fields although 90 percent of winter foods of the birds consists of soybeans and com (Eubanks, unpublished data). Cedar woods, hardwood stands, and old fields were used randomly by the quail population. Understory composition greatly influenced woodland utilization. Baiting or trapping within covey ranges did not noticeably influence daily movements of quail. Additions of food or cover to areas of one-quarter acre or more within covey ranges resulted in frequent use of these areas. Coveys did not usually cross range boundaries. Interchange of quail between covey ranges was common throughout winter. An average covey lost and gained a member every three days. Replacement of birds lost from covey ranges was rapid. Rapid replace-ment was attributed to communication between coveys.

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