Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bob Whites, Raised By a Barber

Dave wears multiple hats. He is a barber but he also raises Northern Bobwhites (Colinus virginianus).   The birds' name comes from the male's whistling call which sounds like "Bob White". 

              Here is the incubator.
Here he is adding more eggs to the hatching tray. He invited me to return the next day to see the additional chicks that he expected to hatch.

He removes eggs which show no signs of hatching...
and helps a chick who is having difficulty.
He has a 70 to 80% success rate in hatching the chicks which is about the same as the hens would have in the wild. However, because his chicks are protected as they mature, he has a better maturation rate. He sells the chicks to people who have areas which they want to repopulate with bobwhites.

These adult specimen stuffed and placed in proper habitat by a taxidermist were given to Brukner Nature Center. The first is the male, the second is the female.

This is the only quail a person is likely to see in Ohio. They were at their peak in the 1930s when
Ohio had the best habitat, open meadows, fencerows, and pastures.  Originally, Ohio was mostly tree-covered which was not good habitat and now our farms have fewer open meadows, fencerows and pastures.
A further complicating factor is our weather. We are at the northern edge of the bobwhites' natural range. Years of cold weather and deep snow decimate the birds.

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