Northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) are a nonmigratory, small game bird found throughout Indiana and the eastern United States. Once very common throughout the agricultural landscape, recent population indices of this native species continue to be at or near historical lows in Indiana (Figure 1).
Loss of habitat is most likely responsible for the declines in bobwhite quail over the past half century. A shift in agricultural practices during this time is the primary cause. When quail populations in Indiana and the Midwest were much higher in the 1950s, farming practices were different than today. Farms were generally divided into smaller parcels, field sizes were smaller and divided by fencerows, and production was more evenly distributed among row crops, small grains, and pastures. Today, "clean farming" dominates the agricultural landscape (Figure 2).