A conversation: Pondering why the quail aren’t plentiful
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