Raptor Counts Wrapping Up Quail Study Field Work

Nov 16, 2021

Quail Ecology and Management Project Report for October 2021

Provided by Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Oklahoma State University

Fieldwork has ended for the project’s quail, invertebrate, and seed components. Only some fall raptor surveys remain to be conducted in the field.  

For the quail component, Landon Neuman and Samantha Cady continued analyzing data and working on chapters for their master’s thesis and doctorate dissertation, respectively. Jennifer Knutson is editing a manuscript for publication on the relationship between woody vegetation (such as shrubs and trees of different heights) and the bird communities across Beaver RiverCross TimbersPacksaddle, and Sandy Sanders Wildlife Management Areas.  

Analyses estimating the probability of survival until the onset of breeding for monthly cohorts of bobwhites at Packsaddle and Beaver River WMAs are ongoing, as is the work of compiling the final report for the project. 

RAPTOR SURVEYS: Jacob Reeves completed another set of raptor surveys in October. He observed a markedly different raptor community compared to the May and June surveys. He had a total of 184 raptor observations throughout the eight-day sampling period, which was about 50 percent more total observations than April’s 122, and considerably more than in January (66), May (56), and June (29). The large difference in total observations was primarily due to 151 observations of American kestrels (Falco sparverius), accounting for 82 percent of October’s sightings.  

Of the 151 kestrel observations, 101 (67 percent) were observed in the 2020 burn areas, 17 (11 percent) in the 2019 burn areas, and 33 (22 percent) in the unburned areas. Kestrel sightings were similarly dominant in April, with 83 sightings accounting for 68 percent of April’s observations). In April, 44 kestrel sightings (53 percent) were in 2020 burn areas, 22 (27 percent) in 2019 burn areas, and 17 (20 percent) in the unburned areas.  

Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) were observed four times in October. They were only observed for three days in the middle of the sampling period, which could indicate that the observations represent one or more individuals passing through the study area during migration. Additionally, there were eight observations of great-horned owls (Bubo virginianus), which had previously only been observed twice in April.  

(This project is funded in part by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Federal Aid Project F18AF001-10: Quail Ecology and Management II.)