Support call for harvesters spotting quail in SA

A citizen-led science project mapping stubble quail abundance and presence across South Australia is seeking harvest operators to help with the research. Volunteer harvester drivers recording bird sightings from the cab will help contribute to the statewide survey which will aid species management and ensure sustainable quail hunting seasons.

Quail Research Project Coordinator Matthew Godson said last year was the first time stubble quail had been counted so extensively throughout South Australia, with that work already assisting authorities to determine that a hunting season was sustainable in 2022.

“A lack of scientific interest in quail, a species that doesn’t fit the endangered or pest narrative which typically attracts attention and funding, had left it virtually ignored for decades,” he said.

“We’re looking for more volunteers this year in the hope we can expand our population survey, monitor for changes and ensure hunters can continue to bring home prized game meat.”

Hunters have a special interest in the sustainable management of wildlife and regularly contribute to monitoring, pest animal management and restoration of habitats. Stubble quail is native to Australia and is the most common quail species in the country, being found everywhere except Tasmania and is categorised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species of least concern.

Last year a total of 124 paddocks in various agricultural areas were surveyed resulting in 17,194 individual birds counted with an average statewide density of 1.28 quail per hectare, suggesting a population ranging from 6-17 million in South Australia’s agricultural areas.

The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA National) is working in partnership with the Conservation and Hunting Alliance of South Australia (CHASA) on this project.

How to take part:

  • Download the data and information sheet.
  • Stubble quail can be counted on easy-to-use data sheets where the date, location and crop type will also be recorded. Multiple paddocks can be recorded.
  • Completed sheets can be sent via email to Matthew Godson at [email protected] or by text to 0448 887 079.

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