Friday, October 31, 2014 · 11:55 p.m.

Riverwalk Bird of the Week: Northern bobwhite

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In Tennessee and many other states, bobwhite populations have decreased significantly in recent years, as much as 70 to 90 percent in some areas. (Photo: Dick Schier)

The folks in the Riverwalk Bird Club don't just watch birds. The group includes some excellent photographers.

Nooga.com Outdoors is happy to share their great photos by featuring a Bird of the Week.

This week, we feature a northern bobwhite, or quail, taken by Dick Schier.

A small, chicken-like bird of the eastern United States and Mexico, the northern bobwhite is an important game bird. It is extensively hunted in some areas. Its loud call announces its bobwhite name.

Interesting facts
The northern bobwhite is divided into 22 different subspecies. Females show little variation among the different forms, but the males can vary dramatically. Some bobwhites from Mexico have little banding across the chest, are uniformly rufous and have all black heads.

—In Tennessee and many other states, bobwhite populations have decreased significantly in recent years, as much as 70 to 90 percent in some areas. One of the most influential impacts reducing northern bobwhite numbers continues to be the loss of nesting and protective cover. The removal of overgrown hedgerows, fencerows and windbreaks from agricultural fields and rural landscapes; the conversion of open, native grasslands, woodland edge and other idle habitat to introduced grasses and developed lands; clean farming operations and the increased use of agrichemicals; increased grazing pressure; intensive fire control; removal of timber and brush over broad areas; and the spraying and mowing of highway and utility rights-of-way have reduced or eliminated bobwhite populations from traditionally occupied areas across the United States.

This information is courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

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