It is a sad thing for sure, our quail have a failing population. A species that was once abundant has now started down the road of the passenger pigeon. Yet, even under such dire circumstances there is a ray of hope. You, alone, by yourself can help their failing populations! Creating a quail habitat really isn't all that hard. When you master this plan, you won't only be helping quail, you will help other native species as well.
Management of all four seasons is important for proper habitat.
BooobWHITE! (well, not really)
Spring and Summer. Fall. Winter.
Another thing you should take into consideration, your pets. Quail are pretty defenseless creatures and your dogs and cats will kill them if given the chance. It isn't their fault, it's in their nature to do so. Try to keep your pets contained. It's safer for the quail and it's safer for them. Pesticides are OUT. Don't kill the bugs your quail need to eat, it's a bit counterproductive. lol The same goes for herbicides, try to be as green as you can and your covey will thank you!
Let's not forget good plants for our feathered friends!
Quail get it from all sides. Foxes, cats, dogs, pigs, wolves, coyotes go after them on the ground while hawks and eagles and owls aim from the sky. It is little wonder why this feathered punching bag loves briars so much. Who wants to stick a beak or tender nose in a writhing pile of thorns? Not I! Not to mention they eat the fruit off these plants as well. Small wonder too their love of bunching grasses to help conceal them as they forage for seeds and insects. These plants not only offer protection from predators, but from the sun, wind, rain and snow as well. Wouldn't it be nice to know you gave a family a home? I bet they'd sure appreciate it.
By planting wiregrasses you afford your quail the correct places to nest and hide. Though you may not want it in your lawn, these bunching grasses are really something you shouldn't do without when planning a quail habitat.
The trick is to plant things that won't inhibit quail movement. Planting briars and similar brush helps protect the birds while allowing free movement.
Don't forget the water!
Controlled burning of unused farmland can help with the restoration of quality quail habitat.
Quail are small birds with stubby legs. It's a small wonder they can get around at all. In order to give the best chance for success for your quail you must plant accordingly. Their babies are so tiny even a blade of grass can trip them, so they need areas that allow ease of movement without removing plenty of cover. It really isn't as hard as it sounds though!
Quail naturally make their homes in brambly cover, places hard for many other creatures to navigate. This protects them from foxes and other predators. It is easy for humans to remove these "pesky" weeds from our fields, almost as easy as erradicating our precious quail population. Extremely thick vegetation creates a problem for quail as it makes it nearly impossible for them to forage and basically to move. Controlled burning can help rejuevenate the landscape, then if you disk the soil you will no doubt turn up many helpful NATIVE weeds these birds thrive on.
Things you can plant as natural food for quail.
Tick Trefoil, Beggar-lice, Beggar-ticks, Sticktights Desmodium canadense
Common Hackberry, American Hackberry Celtis occidentalis (May re-seed itself too well.)
Alpine Strawberry, Sow-teat Strawberry, Wild Strawberry, Woodland Strawberry Fragaria vesca
Western Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak Toxicodendron diversilobum
Quail Unlimited. http://www.qu.org/seed/order.cfm
Until we talk again,
Special thanks to Wikipedia.org and PlantFiles for the use of their photos!