Habitat & Conservation  |  12/22/2021

Podcast Ep. 148: Bobwhite Quail Science with Mississippi State University’s Dr. Mark McConnell

While gamebird research isn’t a part of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s mission statement, the organization often collaborates with research scientists from the most acclaimed universities in the country to inform the organization’s habitat creation and restoration efforts.  In this episode, Bob St.Pierre is joined by Mississippi State University’s Dr. Mark McConnell as well as Quail Forever’s Dr. Jess McGuire and Andy Edwards, for a discussion focused on five different research projects Dr. McConnell and his students are currently working on related to bobwhite quail, habitat management, and precision agriculture.  

Episode Highlights:
  • Dr. McConnell talks about his love of quail hunting and how that passion for hunting influences his research science.  He also talks about hunting with his standard poodle and coins the phrase “it’s cool to like quail again.”  
  • Through Dr. McConnell’s “Scale of Effect” project, he explains that the research is attempting to understand how habitat management on public WMAs in Mississippi influences bobwhite populations on those public lands.  As importantly, he’s also trying to gauge how that management influences bobwhite populations beyond the boundaries into the surrounding private property.
  • Singing from the same scripture as every other quail biologist we’ve ever had on our podcast, Dr. McConnell speaks passionately about the critical importance of prescribed fire to bobwhite quail habitat management for population health and growth. 
  • The crew also talk about the theory that vocal bobwhites are the ones that get eaten by predators first in a population.  Do silent bobwhites live longer or is that mythology?