Brownsville Birds: Texas Quail

Northern Bobwhite - Colinus virginianus
I drove to Port Isabel from Brownsville on an errand and found birds like these quail on the roadside.

I had an errand to run recently that took me to Port Isabel. While looking for roadside birds, I met my first Northern Bobwhites grazing in a grassy flat. They were near enough to get group photos, but too far for nice portraits. I watched the direction they were moving as they foraged, then I repositioned my van to a place I thought they would move to. I was lucky in my guess, because before long the covey approached directly in front of me.

Later I did some research and found science has divided these well-studied birds into 22 subspecies, some were once considered as separate species. When conditions are good, Bobwhites may raise three broods in a season, which can be up to 25 chicks. Yet despite this rate of procreation, habitat loss has resulted in a diminishing population, with declines estimated at 85% from 1966 to 2014.

Click map markers to reveal further information