Summer Quail Report: Iowa

9d70a09d-fbdb-49dd-a50c-ab5cbdbd4211 “Bobwhite quail did pretty well in the winter of 2016-17,” says Todd Bogenschutz, Upland Game Biologist/Farm Bill Coordinator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  “Snowfall was normal or below normal for most of the state – up to a foot less. That was good for quail survival. Overall we came into nesting season in good shape, with decent numbers of birds on the ground.”

“Generally, from Interstate 80 southwards is our quail country,” says Bogenschutz. “That’s the lower two tiers of counties. That area also has the brushy and shrubby habitat needed for quail. We are somewhat on the northern edge of bobwhite range, but with the compact and mild winters we have been having, quail are doing fine in Iowa.”

“Nesting begins in April and May. But we came into a March that was like April this year, from some brood reports I have seen and heard,” says Bogenschutz. “Then May got cool and rainy, but June came back sunny and warm. That’s when a lot of the hatch is occurring anyway, and that should bode well. There was good anecdotal evidence of a decent hatch.”

“Last year our quail roadside counts were the highest since 1989,” says Bogenschutz. “I think we could see them go up this year, depending on the hatch. I never thought I’d see that.” Pheasants Forever / Quail Forever is going to make trip down to go on a count survey route in early August, so stay tuned for that report.

“In late June one staff member reported a brood with birds nearly as big as their parents. And quail will double-nest. With good habitat, that’s a great formula for quail production,” says Bogenschutz.

See the other heartland quail reports here: Nebraska, Kansas

Tom Carpenter is Digital Content Manager at Quail Forever.