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What Are Bird Numbers Like in Your Neck of the Woods?

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June 12, 2012

What Are Bird Numbers Like in Your Neck of the Woods?

By Chad Love

The other morning as I was walking the dogs around my neighborhood, I saw not one, but two sets of paired-up bobwhites scurrying amongst the edge cover along the road, plus I could hear several other males voicing their plaintive desire for female companionship. It was an encouraging sign.

We've gotten a decent bit of rain this spring, things have greened up nicely, and while the bugs are playing hell with my garden, I'm hoping all the new cover and insects will give a desperately-needed boost to this year's hatch. And I'm not alone in keeping my fingers crossed.

After last year's blast-furnace spring and summer (and fall, for that matter) across much of the nation, many of us fervently hoped things would get better, because they couldn't get a helluva lot worse, at least in my part of the world.

But what about yours? I know it's probably a little early for state wildlife departments to be releasing spring call counts or roadside survey results, but what are you hearing about bird numbers in your neck of the woods? Don't worry, I'm not trying to do any Internet scouting, but I am curious to know the relative health of the gamebirds in your area. For the eastern and northern guys, how are your ruffed grouse and woodcock coverts looking? How are the prairie birds doing up north? Any southwest desert quail hunters out there looking forward to the season with optimism? Dread?

Ok, so maybe I am doing just a bit of Internet scouting. I hunt mainly Oklahoma and Kansas, and I have one extended bird-hunting trip to Montana planned this fall, but I'm intrigued with the idea of loading up the dogs and taking a road trip somewhere other than here, somewhere completely outside my zone of familiarity, but preferably somewhere with a few birds. Hence my curiosity about the current status of the birds near you. So do you think it'd be worth it for me to pack up and come hunt your spot (in the figurative sense, not the literal) this fall?

Comments (12)

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from PipersDad06 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Up here in Kansas they just released the results of the spring crow count- not good. The count was down 70% from last year in SW KS and down 50% in NW KS, which was the best area in the state last year. Also farmers aren't reporting very many pheasants chicks in their fields this spring, and the wheat harvest was two weeks early; so things don't look too good here. Not sure what the quail report was like, but I don't think it was as bad as the pheasant report.

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from larson014 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

looks better in the upper midwest, little dry early spring but we have had quite alot of rain in the last 2 weeks, seen some birds moving

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

The pheasants here in South Dakota are breeding in droves! It seems you can't drive anywhere without seeing many different sizes of chicks and tons of em. Grouse numbers are high too! I expect the hunting to be great and think freezer space is going to be an issue?

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from 2lb.test wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

my data will be skewed for the rest of SC because as I've said before I work and live on a quail plantation but I've been seeing a ton of quail trying to get it on. We were dry in early spring but recently we've gotten a lot of rain and everything is nice and green.
I grew up in the northwestern corner of SC, about an hour and a half drive from where I now work and live. Some of my old friends there say that they've been seeing some birds which is unheard of in those parts nowadays. My hunch is that the bursting of the housing bubble along with additional people getting into farming is making a habitat difference.

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from ADDohman wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

i havent heard exactly what the numbers are here in Iowa. of course it is known that there are terrible numbers here, but i did hear a few weeks ago that the numbers of birds have increased some with the mid winter we had this year

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from uplandfanatic wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

On the west coast in northern santa barbara county while out spring turkey hunting. One thing I noticed was all the quail. The quail are were actually so thick they were blowing my cover. It wasnt in just one area either. I hunted about a 50 square mile area of public ground.

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from Kenton wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Where I'm at in Ohio, pretty much non-existant... after the blizzards in the late 70's all the quail died. I finally saw 2 bobwhite last spring and got my hopes up that we might get a small population established however theres no signs of them this year... There are a few pheasants in the county but havent seen any around my place for 3 or 4 years...

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from 007 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I can't remember the last covey of quail I saw here in eastern WV, and anymore very few grouse.

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from 357 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

in new mexico there is a lot of ground and you have to know where to look. i've put up cover on my parents place and have been encouraging the birds to stick around and breed.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Just returned from Northern Manitoba fishing trip. Gad, the waterfowl are all over the place. They have had one downpour after another up there. Lots of cover for chicks. Spring was drawn out and snowpack was light with lots of surface water left from last year. Most farmers did get their crops in but just barely. I have heard it is the same in Eastern Montana so pheasants should be doing very well. Some places canola was already ready to harvest but in others it was barely out of the ground. Last year the sharptail populations in Montana were incredible in spite of an absolutely terrible winter. They are hardy little buggers. Huns were way down and I don't expect they will be up much this year. Little buggers run in cycles.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

i usually see a few pheasant around my house in MI in the spring and summer but havent seen any yet this year for whatever reason. there arent that many to begin with but it was nice to know there were a few.

as far as grouse numbers, i have no idea what the deal is with them up north. i usually get out to hunt them on occasion and do pretty well, see no reason to expect any decline.

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from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Being seeing a steady number of grouse, but they are all skiddish and taking off at 60 to 80 yards in Central ny

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from PipersDad06 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Up here in Kansas they just released the results of the spring crow count- not good. The count was down 70% from last year in SW KS and down 50% in NW KS, which was the best area in the state last year. Also farmers aren't reporting very many pheasants chicks in their fields this spring, and the wheat harvest was two weeks early; so things don't look too good here. Not sure what the quail report was like, but I don't think it was as bad as the pheasant report.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from larson014 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

looks better in the upper midwest, little dry early spring but we have had quite alot of rain in the last 2 weeks, seen some birds moving

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

The pheasants here in South Dakota are breeding in droves! It seems you can't drive anywhere without seeing many different sizes of chicks and tons of em. Grouse numbers are high too! I expect the hunting to be great and think freezer space is going to be an issue?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2lb.test wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

my data will be skewed for the rest of SC because as I've said before I work and live on a quail plantation but I've been seeing a ton of quail trying to get it on. We were dry in early spring but recently we've gotten a lot of rain and everything is nice and green.
I grew up in the northwestern corner of SC, about an hour and a half drive from where I now work and live. Some of my old friends there say that they've been seeing some birds which is unheard of in those parts nowadays. My hunch is that the bursting of the housing bubble along with additional people getting into farming is making a habitat difference.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ADDohman wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

i havent heard exactly what the numbers are here in Iowa. of course it is known that there are terrible numbers here, but i did hear a few weeks ago that the numbers of birds have increased some with the mid winter we had this year

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from uplandfanatic wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

On the west coast in northern santa barbara county while out spring turkey hunting. One thing I noticed was all the quail. The quail are were actually so thick they were blowing my cover. It wasnt in just one area either. I hunted about a 50 square mile area of public ground.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenton wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Where I'm at in Ohio, pretty much non-existant... after the blizzards in the late 70's all the quail died. I finally saw 2 bobwhite last spring and got my hopes up that we might get a small population established however theres no signs of them this year... There are a few pheasants in the county but havent seen any around my place for 3 or 4 years...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I can't remember the last covey of quail I saw here in eastern WV, and anymore very few grouse.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

in new mexico there is a lot of ground and you have to know where to look. i've put up cover on my parents place and have been encouraging the birds to stick around and breed.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Just returned from Northern Manitoba fishing trip. Gad, the waterfowl are all over the place. They have had one downpour after another up there. Lots of cover for chicks. Spring was drawn out and snowpack was light with lots of surface water left from last year. Most farmers did get their crops in but just barely. I have heard it is the same in Eastern Montana so pheasants should be doing very well. Some places canola was already ready to harvest but in others it was barely out of the ground. Last year the sharptail populations in Montana were incredible in spite of an absolutely terrible winter. They are hardy little buggers. Huns were way down and I don't expect they will be up much this year. Little buggers run in cycles.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

i usually see a few pheasant around my house in MI in the spring and summer but havent seen any yet this year for whatever reason. there arent that many to begin with but it was nice to know there were a few.

as far as grouse numbers, i have no idea what the deal is with them up north. i usually get out to hunt them on occasion and do pretty well, see no reason to expect any decline.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Being seeing a steady number of grouse, but they are all skiddish and taking off at 60 to 80 yards in Central ny

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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