The decline of Northern Bobwhite populations mirrors that of an entire suite of species adapted to grassland ecosystems in the United States. Bobwhite rely on the plant communities and structural characteristics that were once maintained through fire and grazing. However, with the advent of modern land management practices and the discontinuation of prescribed burning, the habitats needed by bobwhite, and many other grassland species, have mostly vanished. To stop the decline of bobwhites will take habitat restoration on a landscape scale: from restoring quail habitats (and the beneficial disturbance cycles that sustain them) to protecting the remaining native habitats existing on private and public lands. The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) Coordinated Implementation Program (CIP) aims to help bobwhite by “focusing [restoration, management, and monitoring] efforts on areas large enough to support sustainable bobwhite populations but small enough for a reasonable chance at success.”

In Virginia, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and QRI (or, “Virginia’s Quail and Early Successional Species Recovery Initiative”) lead the effort to coordinate with NBCI CIP. Their goals are to: 1) Restore and conserve early successional habitats throughout Virginia, 2) Promote education for the conservation of early-successional habitats, 3) Restore and conserve healthy populations of bobwhite quail and other early-successional species, and 4) Promote recreation and enjoyment of early-successional ecosystems.

VWL’s Role:
VWL is a member of the Virginia Quail Council. VWL staff conduct bird and plant monitoring surveys at a single farm, which is not currently managed for bobwhite quail, in Northern Virginia.

Collaborators and Primary Investigators:
National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI)
Charlotte Lorick – Virginia Working Landscapes
National Bobwhite Technical Committee

Project Timeline & Status:
VWL has completed field work for 2018 – Ongoing



VWL is supported 100% by grants and donations and our work is made possible by the generous contributions from our community.

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Virginia Working Landscapes
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
1500 Remount Road, MRC 5537
Front Royal, Virginia 22630