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The collars use were neck loop transmitters and body loop transmitters and were 5% or less of the quail’s body mass. Some birds were released in pairs, while other birds were released alone. Some birds were also kept overnight and released in a different location within a 24-hour period.
All quail died within 16 days of the study. Factors contributing to quail fatality were predation, stress, and poor habitat condition. Montezuma Quail rely on cover to escape from predators, and poor habitat quality at the study sites could have been the reason that raptors were the primary mortality agent, effecting nine of the fourteen quail. Canine predation was evident with one quail. One of the captured quail showed signs of fatality from handling stress.
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Richard Brown conducted a study in 1982 investigating the effects livestock grazing has on the Montezuma Quail over a nine year period. It was previously known that overgrazing has a significant impact on quail numbers. However, no real data existed to confirm how overgrazing reduced the quail population. This study investigates whether the cause of decline is a result of food loss or cover loss. To measure food production, stem counts were conducted on a semiannual basis on preferred Montezuma Quail forage. These counts were conducted on 188 plots that measured 100m2. These plots were within four bigger plots, which Montezuma Quail were censused for annually, under the assumption that they held a number of average to above average population densities of Montezuma Quail. The only areas used contained wooded areas with 20% or high crown cover of oak and manzanita species, as well as open grassland within 45 meters of those wooded areas. The grasses were predominately summer growing …show more content…
Even if overgrazed to the point that food supplies were reduced, the Montezuma Quail specializes in scratching for its food, meaning the tubers and roots underground wouldn’t be removed. One of the pastures was overgrazed past critical threshold, but still produced twice as much food. However, no quail stayed permanently on this pasture, showing that the lack of cover is the limiting factor. Lack of cover reduces nesting material as well as escape cover. Although some coveys would pass through, no coveys stayed on the pasture. Furthermore, no mated pairs were ever present on the pasture for the entire duration of the study. However, the opposite result occurred for the adjacent pastures that were lightly grazed in terms of coveys, as well as mated pairs. This data shows that removing cover effects the breeding population. Over winter, approximately 8 birds share a space, but when mate pairing occurs in March, the quail become territorial. This behavior is thought to set a limit on the density of the breeding population. Those who don’t become established somewhere possibly die from starvation or predation due to lack of

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