For some children, mimicking the northern bobwhite quail’s mating call was how they learned to whistle. They heard the urgent and earnest “bob-white” sound lilting from pastures and fields. The call’s short and sharp notes are impressive, and rather easily imitated, so youngsters did. For older folks, hearing quail calling means summer is progressing on time, a reliable sign along with butterflies returning and meadowlarks chirping atop wooden fence posts. Today, however, many people are missing the bobwhite whistle in their neighborhood.

Bobwhite quail populations are holding steady on land with suitable wildlife habitat. But statewide, quail numbers have fallen drastically in recent decades. The drop is due to habitat losses caused by urban sprawl and clean farming practices, unusually rainy weather that harmed nesting success, mature trees replacing shrubs and grasses, and other factors biologists are examining. However, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has proven on conservation areas and private land, that if given good habitat, quail populations will remain and even thrive.

~ Read more in today’s Journal ~