Six days for the bobwhite quail
By Emily Bialkowski
The Minnesota Quail Forever Southeast Chapter has been an active force behind creating habitat for quail in southeastern Minnesota. They have partnered with local schools and landowners in hopes of providing attractive nesting sites for these disappearing upland birds.
Now, the chapter needs a few volunteers to continue their work near Caledonia and Spring Grove.
Six sites have been selected to receive a dusting structure.
Thurman Tucker, Quail Forever state coordinator, explained, “In years past, I have had a fair number of landowners tell me that they have seen quail dusting, some alongside corn cribs. Also, quail have been seen dusting in the ashes of a burnt out tree stump; and quail have been seen dusting on the edge of gravel roads. The question is, do we need to provide more dusting sites for the birds?”
Bobwhite quail populations continue to decline across the country, and
Tucker believes every effort needs to be made to create attractive habitats for the birds that still roam the countryside.
These six dusting sites have had confirmed quail sitings. The corn crib will attract the birds, while the structure will also provide protection from predators and allow the quail to dust, much like sparrows and turkey do.
“Whoever wants to be part of this is welcome,” Tucker said. “Sometimes people are looking for things to do, plus older people really have fond memories of bobwhite quail.”
The first work day has been set for Oct. 22. The subsequent five will be scattered into the coming months with two work days per month.
Volunteers will help construct the dusting structures and become part of the “quail habitat crew.”
The day of work will be rewarded with pizza at Good Times in Caledonia, and Ellingson Motors has agreed to donate a car service coupon to volunteers as well.
All materials, such as blocks, pallets and fencing, will be provided.
“We just need the bodies there,” Tucker said. And, if you happen to have a chain saw, that would be handy, too.
In addition to constructing the crib, volunteers will cut brush to decorate the structure in a way that’s attractive to the birds.
“Corn, brush and dust – that’s what the quail like,” Tucker said.
The timing of this project is important, too, as winter will soon be on its way.
“We want to get these up before the snow flies,” Tucker said.
Finally, if you can’t commit to the quail habitat crew, Tucker encourages hunters and wildlife viewers to contact Quail Forever if you see any quail. Call Tucker at 612-201-1622 or call the local chapter president, Mark Monson, at 507-498-5713. The Oct. 22 work day will begin at Good Times in Caledonia before leaving for the site.
For more information on Quail Forever, visit www.mnquailforever.org.