Ten Secrets to Establishing a Native Bird Population
The ten most important step of establishing a native bird population is establishing a good habitat for the birds. By establishing good habitat the birds are more likely to stay in that area.
#1 Create a buffer of grasses and legumes
A buffer of grasses and legumes helps prevent erosion and provide quail nesting, brooding and roosting habitat.
#2 Use less herbicide
Important brood habitat will be created when herbicides aren’t used on the outside two rows of crops. They will become weedy, have more overhead protection from predators and it provides more insects for chicks. When the outside two rows of crops are left unharvested, it provides food and cover during the winter.
#3 Over seed winter wheat
Over seeding winter wheat will provide excellent brood habitat. After harvested leave ground idle this allows foxtail and ragweed to grow naturally providing good brood habitat during summer and food and cover during winter.
#4 Plant shrubs
Planting shrubs of black berries, plums, and sumac in strips will provide a place quail will use as covey headquarters.
#5 Pile up brush along field edges
Brush piles along the edge of fields will provide an escape area for birds from predators. Allowing the quail to walk easily through the area but larger animals cannot.
#6 Prescribed burning
Prescribed burning of areas of land should be done in late winter creating the best quail habitat by generating a lot of seed producing plants and bare ground between the grasses. It will also eliminate predators such as snake and rats.
Periodic disking of one third of a CRP field can keep the field in good quail habitat. It decreases the dominance of grasses and provides growth of plants that quail will use as food.
#8 Trim hedge rows
Trimming hedge rows prevent them from shading out grasses and shrubs that are good for the quail habitat.
#9 Food plots
Planting food plots of corn, Milo, millet, sorghum, sunflowers and soybeans provide a large percent of the winter food source.
#10 Edge feathering
Edge feathering is cutting trees along timber edge leaving tree tops for immediate coverage. Within a year or two this area will produce briars, brambles, grasses and weeds providing an escape cover for quail.
These management techniques may be a little different through-out the country. A good practice is to work with your local wildlife biologist who will guide you through these processes and others in order to help you create the best habitat and native bird population for your area.