Bobwhite Concerns, Bobwhite Meeting

The current status of Northern Bobwhite in the U.S. is less than ideal. Once a common and prolific breeder in pastures, grassy roadsides, and farmlands across the eastern half of the country, the species has experienced a severe decline over a number of decades.

With this in mind, Northern Bobwhite experts from around the country will meet in West Des Moines, Iowa, at the end of this month for the 2014 meeting of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC). The NBTC – comprised of representatives of state wildlife agencies, academic research institutions, and private conservation organizations – is the technical group guiding the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI).

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is intended to elevate Northern Bobwhite recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The NBCI goal is to restore wild populations of Northern Bobwhites in this country to levels comparable to those of 1980

Expected to be a central topic at the West Des Moines meeting is the new NBCI Coordinated Implementation Program, a plan that can be viewed here:

This plan was adopted in March by the NBCI Management Board – a group comprised of state wildlife agency directors, -The group laid out a specific, step-by-step roadmap for identifying and developing NBCI Bobwhite Focal Areas, along with identifying measures of success on a landscape scale.

Although the primary target is the Northern Bobwhite, the program’s impacts extend beyond bobwhites to include a suite of declining grassland songbirds, pollinators, and other species. Some of the other birds considered include Greater Prairie-Chicken, Henslow’s Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, and Dickcissel. The NBCI conservation approach to species other than bobwhites is summarized here: