Northern Bobwhite at Wetzel

So over the past week there has been some discussion about the Bobwhite that have been seen at Wetzel State Park… I have seen multiple reports on Ebird regarding these quail… So the question for me are “are these a breeding population of Bobwhite?” or are these “pen raised birds that escaped when hunters trained their dogs?”….  I did some research on Ebird over the last 10 years and there has been no other reports of Northern Bobwhite in Macomb County during that time… Is this because they were missed by the birding community? Tom Heatley has birded Wetzel probably more than anyone in that time frame, is it possible that Tom has missed Breeding birds? Northern Bobwhite are sedentary birds that do not migrate, so if they were not escapees then where did they come from? Lastly the question I would like to ask is I saw a recent photograph of one of the Bobwhite taken by an Iphone… an up close shot of a quail just walking around… Is this the behavior of a wild quail?  Watch the video below for how Northern Bobwhite act when encountering people… in this case hunters… I have flushed many a covey in Florida and back in my 20’s when they nested near Stony Creek… They are a skittish bird that flush very easily…


So all these questions that should be answered first, bring me to my next point… Should individuals count these as life birds? County birds? Year birds? Perhaps if there is proof of breeding and there are young birds that are seen, then its plausible, but if these are escapees from some guy training his dogs, then these birds are no different than an escaped Parakeet and If I run into them they won’t make it on any of my lists.. Just my two cents…

One thought on “Northern Bobwhite at Wetzel

  1. I tend to agree with your idea that they may be Pen raised birds. I have seen them dozens of time when I would go bird hunting with my father in the early 90s. They would flush any time you got close at all much faster than Pheasant. Also they would be in the same fields year after year unlike pheasant who would move around locally depending on the crops and roosting habitat. The only thing that has me thinking they may be wild is that the DNR feels there are enough of them to allow hunting them in Macomb county.,4570,7-153-10363_10958_10963—,00.html

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