A con­ver­sa­tion: Pon­der­ing why the quail aren’t plen­ti­ful

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

An old-timer at a cafe in north­ern John­son County was giv­ing me his ex­pe­ri­ence on the sub­ject of quail restora­tion in Arkansas. I’ll para­phrase our con­ver­sa­tion:

“I’ve had a covey or two of birds on my place all my life,” he said.

“Still got ’em?” I asked ex­cit­edly.

“Naw, not for sev­eral years.”

“What hap­pened, did you clean off the cover?” “Nope. Same good fields, same water holes. It’s the dang skunks and pos­sums. They’ve over­run the place and they wipe out ev­ery nest the quails make.”

“Well, they tell me it’s the fes­cue and loss of good habi­tat.”

The man agreed that’s part of it, then asked me if I see as many mead­owlarks (ground-nest­ing birds like quail) on my place as I used to? I had to stop and think be­cause I have good fields for them, but then I replied to the old-timer, “Well, no, I don’t see them, now that you men­tion it.”

“Me, ei­ther,” he said. “And they used to be all over ev­ery­where.”

Then with a slightly cyn­i­cal smile and a hard eye, he looked at me and said, “It ain’t no co­in­ci­dence!”

DAVE JOHN­SON Fayet­teville

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