[CT Birds] Bobwhite sightings needed...

Brian Hiller mudbat13 at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 19 11:04:26 EDT 2009

The CT DEP Wildlife Division is asking birders to assist in gathering information about the current distribution of Northern Bobwhite in Connecticut.

The historical range of the Northern bobwhite extended into New England as far north as southern Maine and New Hampshire (Brennan 1999).  The population was considered to be abundant in the early-1800s but was limited by occasional and widespread die-offs during excessively long or unusually cold winters (Zeranski and Baptist 1990).  Numerous sustained restocking efforts throughout the late-1800s and early-1990s replenished the population to the level of common by 1913, at which point Sage et al. (1913) suggested that it would be nearly impossible to tell the origin of much of the bobwhite population in the state.
            Recent data from the Breeding Bird Survey suggested that bobwhite counts declined an average of 8.6% per year from 1966 to 1989 (Askins 1994).  Roadside count routes in Salem and East Haddam showed that the average number of males heard calling between 1980 and 1985 was similar to data from the same routes from 1946 to 1951 (Askins 1994).  The most recent breeding bird survey was conducted in CT between 1982 and 1986 and showed that confirmed breeding was present in 24 different survey blocks (14.5% of the state) (Askins 1994).  This data, while more than 20 years old now, suggests the possibility of a small, yet sustained breeding population of Northern bobwhite in CT and warrants further investigation.
I am very aware of the large numbers of bobwhite that are released for various field trials and hunting dog training exercises throughout the state, however we need to start somewhere and observations from the birding community will go a long way toward increasing our observation data.  We are especially interested in any breeding observations and if (it's a BIG if) there are birds breeding the first brood is likely to be found in the next few weeks (Brennan 1999).
We are specifically looking for the following information from any and all bobwhite sightings;
Observer Name
Contact details (phone or email address)
Date and time of day of observation
Type of Observation (Visual or Heard calling)
Number of individuals (adults and chicks)
Gender (adults)
Location (specific wildlife management area, or nearest intersecting roads)
Habitat (field, shrubs, forest)
If you observe bobwhite in Connecticut please email the above information to me at brian_hiller at hotmail.com
Thank you in advance for you assistance.
Brian Hiller
CT DEP Wildlife Division
Askins, R. A. 1994. Northern Bobwhite. In The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Connecticut (Louis R. Bevier, ed.). State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Bulletin 113.
Brennan, L. A. 1999.  Northern Bobwhite (Colinus viginianus).  In The Birds of North America, No. 397 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.).  The Birds of North America, Inc. Philadelphia, PA.
Sage, J. H., L. B. Bishop, and W. P. Bliss. 1913.  The Birds of Connecticut. Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin No. 20.
Zeranski, J. D. and T. R. Baptist. 1990.  Connecticut Birds.  University Press of New England, Hanover, New Hampshire.
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