CUSTOM, LOW-COST SEED MIXES AIMED AT ENHANCING QUAIL HABITAT
Seed available for the amount of acres to be planted;
mixtures vary according to area's annual rainfall
Adequate nesting and brood rearing cover are critical needs throughout much of the bobwhite range, according to Quail Unlimited (QU) National Habitat Director Roger Wells, Americus. “Wildlife biologists have identified the need for creating and planting additional quality nesting and brood rearing cover as the number one objective for quail recovery,” says Wells.
To meet this need, QU and Sharp Brothers Seed Company, Healy, have joined forces to provide low-cost quail nesting and brood seed mixes for landowners, quail enthusiasts, and wildlife observers. The native grass and forb mixes are designed to provide the short, bunch-grass growth preferred by bobwhites. In addition to the grasses, a variety of preferred forbs are included to provide overhead cover and attract insects ideal for quail chicks. These grass and forb mixtures can be planted along field borders, small non-farmed areas, forest openings, and abandoned crop fields. They may also replace non-native species -- such as fescue and Bermuda grass -- that provide poor quail habitat.
“One of the biggest mistakes when planting native grasses is to plant too much seed,” says Wells. “Native grass cover for bobwhites should be relatively thin to allow ease of quail travel at ground level. We have designed these mixes so that if the landowner or manager tells us how many acres they need to plant, we will send them the right amount of seed to make ideal quail cover on those acres.”
Two mixes are available at this time. The Eastern Mix is designed for areas receiving more than 35 inches of rainfall per year. This mix contains grass varieties that remain at preferred quail height even in areas of higher rainfall. The Western Mix has a small amount of taller grass varieties added and is adapted to sites receiving less than 35 inches of rainfall per year. The cost of each mix is $45 per acre plus shipping and handling, with a one-acre minimum order. Orders can be placed by writing the Quail Unlimited National Habitat Office, 868 Road 290, Americus, KS 66835; phoning 620-443-5834; or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.