Fall Covey Monitoring
Population goals of the NBGI Coordinated Implementation Program and its foundational plan, NBCI 2.0, are determined during fall. CIP’s two measurements of bobwhite population density, both using point-transect distance sampling of calling birds, estimate males during the breeding season (link to section), and coveys during fall. Understanding bobwhite abundance in fall is critical because population goals of NBCI 2.0 are tied indirectly to recreational hunting opportunity, and because breeding season measurements only provide an index of fall density. Fall covey count methodology is backed by research in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, and has been used in both state and national adaptive management programs (e.g., bird monitoring program of the Conservation Reserve Program CP33 - Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds Evaluation).
Fall covey counts occur just prior to sunrise, and are a highlight for many quail enthusiasts. See a covey count in action!