DESERT QUAIL RESEARCH
Supplemental Feed and Scaled Quail Movements
To evaluate the effect of supplemental feed on quail movements, a comparative study was conducted consisting of 2 ranches that use supplemental feed (1 using quail blocks, and 1 using gravity feeders filled with milo), and 1 ranch that did not supply any supplemental feed.
A map depicting habitat use relative to supplemental feed. Green buffers represent distance from supplemental feed source (1/4-mile, 1/2-mile, 1-mile). Red indicates individual quail movements.
Information obtained from scaled quail equipped with radiotelemetry on areas with supplemental feed had home ranges that averaged 363 acres, and ranged from 96-897 acres in size. The property with no supplemental feed had an average home range size of 885 acres, with home ranges ranging from 124-3,284 acres. On ranches supplying supplemental feed, home range analysis indicated 66.6% of the scaled quail had 1 to 3 feeders in their in their 50% core range, and 100% of quail had one or more feeders in their 95% home range. Conversely, it was shown that only 50% of quail had a standing water source in their 95% home range.
The differences in home range size indicate that supplemental feed does have an effect on scaled quail movements. Additional information obtained indicated that ranches employing a supplemental feed regime had disproportionate use of the feeders. This suggests that ecological sites are also playing an important role in the home range area. Although supplemental feeding has an effect on scaled quail home ranges, other factors such as soil type and ecological site may have greater effect.
Preliminary data indicated that scaled quail selected for specific soil types, as well as terrain (e.g., slope). Although the preferred soil for home range establishment varied across study sites, all of our sites indicated that scaled quail favored terrain that had gentle slopes (i.e., 2-5%). As a result of our ongoing quail research, land managers should have another piece to the puzzle in determining what is considered prime habitat for scaled quail.