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Outdoor topics => The Outdoor Board => Topic started by: chain on March 27, 2010, 06:26:01 PM

Title: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: chain on March 27, 2010, 06:26:01 PM
Received my quarterly quail management newsletter today. Much discussion devoted to dispelling the myth that turkeys prey on quail, even ruffed-grouse. I've never thought about it as turkeys seem more a forest fowl than quail. Yet, I could see as how the wary eye of the turkey could pick off on a brood of chick quail and have a feast with them. Guess I'm wrong...

"Researchers say  loss of habitat remains the greatest cause of quail decline.Turkey researchers have not found a single quail chick or egg fragment while examining thousands of turkey stomachs. Also, researchers using radio transmitters on chicks and remote cameras on quail nests have documented thousands of cases of predation by snakes, crows, furbearers, armadillos, even deer, but no turkey has been caught in the act."

This info from Missouri Dept. of Conservation, University of Missouri Extension & USDA-NRCS joint effort to restoring quail. "The Covey Headquarters" newsletter  Vol.9 Spring 2010
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Magicman on March 27, 2010, 07:50:09 PM
I'm glad to hear that, but whatever the cause, I wish we still had those big Bobwhite quail.  The last one that I heard whistle was in 1995 when I was building our cabin.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Tom on March 27, 2010, 08:05:32 PM
I had never heard of Turkey harming Quail.  I have heard of them getting a small snake or lizard.  Mostly it's seed and young plants, I thought.

Quail are an "edge" bird.  Housing and business Developments have destroyed the edges and fields. Quaill don't hang with people either, so it is a double whammy.

We have had coyotes move in around here in fairly great numbers and they are quail predators who can decimate a population.  People drop off unwanted pets on our road too.  You wouldn't believe the number of feral cats in our woods and on the road.  They also eat quail, a ground nesting bird.

I've noticed that our well-fed cats at the house don't hunt much.  They do for fun, but seldom leave the confines of the yard or the barn where lizards, roaches, mice and snakes are the prey.

Yet our quail are disappearing.  I blame the coyotes and the cats that are dumped out here and have to find a home in the woods.  They don't stop breeding just because someone got tired of them either.

Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: LeeB on March 28, 2010, 12:13:35 AM
Fire ants do a number on them too.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: chain on March 28, 2010, 05:13:10 AM
Wonder if they would examine a thousand Red-tailed hawk stomachs what they would find? ;D  Ineresting they did not mention any raptors; poor quail, they're at the wrong end of the food chain. We try to do our part in the habitat area, so far no luck.




Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Kansas on March 28, 2010, 08:00:09 AM
I don't know for sure, but the farmers and ranchers sure blame turkeys for low quail, pheasant, and prarie chicken numbers. Back in the late 70's, we hunted prarie chickens. It wasn't unusual to see a flock of up to 100 or more. There were no turkeys in the area. Now there are turkeys everywhere. Its rare to see a chicken. The habitat hasn't changed. The prarie grass is still there, and the bottomland fields are still there they used to fly to to feed.  Maybe combines do a better job than then, but that still doesn't account for it.  I don't see a lot of change in habitat here for quail and pheasant, yet the numbers are down.

You get caught poaching quail by a farmer around here, you are likely to get shot. You get caught poaching a turkey, he will send you back and make your shoot two more.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Chuck White on March 28, 2010, 10:48:40 AM
I don't think turkeys would actually prey (hunt) quail, but if it's a meal and it's right there, that's different.
Turkeys rely on convenient edibles.
That is, if it's edible and convenient, they will eat it.
I feel that if a turkey happens to catch up with a newly hatched bird (of any kind), they will make a meal of it.
If you ever looked into the mouth of a turkey, you'll see that they can swallow a sizable object, be it bird, mouse, or whatever.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: ErikC on March 28, 2010, 11:54:07 AM
 Tom was right about the feral cats. They are one of the worst on quail, and fox or coyote are bad too. We have lots of all three in this area. As was said, quail are at the wrong end of the food chain.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Norm on March 28, 2010, 12:11:34 PM
I was reading a study about how to help out ground nesting birds. The number 1 thing that gave the most benefit was aggressively controlling the predator population. Habit was 3rd after the weather which is beyond control.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Corley5 on March 28, 2010, 05:59:34 PM
I can't imagine a turkey turning down an easy meal of quail eggs  :)
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: CLL on March 28, 2010, 09:19:57 PM
Had twenty two hens in yard tonight and nine toms, no quail. Of course since almost everyone quit shooting coyotes, wild cats and bobcats, there has been no quail anyway.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: TexasSawmiller on March 29, 2010, 09:14:39 AM
I know out here where I'm at Roadrunners take their share of quail
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Tom on March 30, 2010, 08:22:57 PM
Just Grousing around here a bit. ;D

Turkey are mostly bug and seed eaters.  Perhaps they get something larger now and again, but classifying them as a predator of other birds doesn't fit like  the classification of a Hawk as a predator of other birds.  Even Chickens eat Chickens, but the aren't considered a predator to much more than grasshoppers and earthworms.

I look on animals such as quail, the same as I do mullet.  Mullet is a fish that is basically a vegetarian.  They spawn at one time and travel in great schools (hordes).  Predator fish decimate thousands from schools containing hundreds of thousands.  Still, that is the way nature works.  As long as the world in which they live contains a favorable environment for their proliferation, they will survive as a species. If they can no longer proliferate, they will disappear; and so will the predator fish that depend on them for a meal.

Does that mean that we should kill the predators, or does it mean that we should provide better habitat for the survival of the prey.  There are other choices, perhaps, including doing nothing, but I only ask about these two.

Some folks want to defend the prey by killing off the predators.  That might be OK if you are defending a small population in a world of natural predation and provided your own nursery.

But then some folks think the decision might be to provide more environment for the prey to procreate and let the predators have what they want.

If there would be one thing in this world that I wouldn't want to be, it would be a mullet.  Everybody wants to eat them.  There were schools that covered miles of ocean and river, once upon a time.  Now the migration is but a shadow of its former self.  It's not because we got rid of the predators, it's because we got rid of the nurseries.  We have dredged, channeled and drained the estuaries to provide elite living for our Royal Class. 

If we had really been concerned, in the beginning, of wanting the Buffalo, we would have gotten rid of the people.  Instead, getting-rid-of-the-people was the goal and getting rid of the buffalo accomplished that.

If we want quail, getting rid of the predators isn't going to provide it.  We have to create the edges and the environment that favors the procreation and survival of the quail.  Killing the turkey isn't the answer anymore than killing the eagles and hawks. Stopping the introduction of new predators and curtailing our use of the nurseries is the answer.

Now, if you followed this, you're a better man than I am.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: CHARLIE on April 10, 2010, 12:32:14 AM
I've always been a better man than you. 8)
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: Tom on April 10, 2010, 06:02:37 PM
Oh yeah?!?!   well,  ....................................... ......Oh yeah??!?!   dadgum you, Charlie!
Grumble.... stomp..... slam!

You're such a nice little fellow.  Cute too.  :)
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: SwampDonkey on April 10, 2010, 06:54:04 PM
 ;D Cough, cough....yeah what Tom said.  I mean two posts back, so no funny stuff. ;)

Can't have hydro dams and expect salmon to return to their little spawning brooks. ;)
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: ARKANSAWYER on April 23, 2010, 07:14:11 PM
  I have found that house cats are the biggest problem here.  They kill even if they are not hungry and will kill all of the covey just to be killing.  I have a covey here at the mill.  Got to putting out feed for them and last year I was over 20 birds.  Next thing I knew they were down to about 8 birds.  Then I killed 3 wild house cats that someone must have dropped off.  Hope my birds have a good nesting this year.
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: DWM II on April 23, 2010, 08:53:45 PM
Feral cats are one or the most successful predators in the woods today. Not to mention coyotes. No doubt in my opinion these are the most likely suspects. 
Title: Re: Do wild turkeys prey on quail?
Post by: SwampDonkey on April 23, 2010, 08:55:02 PM
The house cats have been cleaned up for the time being with help of the foxes around here. No more of that 2:00 am wake up yelp from the foxes for a while. :D Some might have froze up to, but I never saw a dead one. Probably impossible to find with all the crows and ravens. :D

There's a little ground pig flirting on fox turf to. ;)