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!

NBCI 2.0

The latest version of the NBGI CIP detailing all monitoring protocols for an NBGI Focal Area.


Download this datasheet to effectively collect NBGI fall covey data.

Fall Covey Count Protocol

This table provides important information for fall covey monitoring according to the CIP protocol.

Electronic Callers

If you are utilizing electronic callers for fall covey monitoring, view this powerpoint for instructions.

Covey Call

A MP3 audio file of a Nothern Bobwhite Covey Call for use with electronic callers.

Covey Count Mobile Data Collection

Instructions for use of Collector for ArcGIS for covey count surveys.


Proper training is necessary to ensure data is collected consistently among years and between partners. Learning how to perform fall covey counts accurately and efficiently is of great importance to ensuring that we can make meaningful inferences about the effect of habitat management on quail abundance. Take a look at the NBGI CIP Covey Count Training Manual to learn how to perform an assessment at your sampling points. Also see the videos below for an overview of the process and how to use electronic callers to train and improve the accuracy of your field personnel.

NBGI CIP Covey Count Training Manual

Covey Count Overview

A general overview of the fall covey count process.

Performing a Covey Count

Description of the process of capturing covey calls on the datasheet.

Using Electronic Callers

Advantages of electronic callers.

Training Field Personnel

Example of a team of field personnel using electronic callers to compare results and improve accuracy.