Foraging ecology of California quail and response of key foods to habitat manipulations in western Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xg94hv02p

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  • Seasonal diet and food selection of California quail (Callipepla californica) were studied at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area, Oregon, during 1985 to 1987. Analysis of diets of 105 quail, along with information from 117 quail taken during 1976 to 1978 revealed 14 key plant foods. Collectively, the key foods composed 87% of the diet by dry weight during 1985-87; 6 species of legumes constituted 63% of the diet. The most frequently consumed foods included wild carrot, vetch, Scot's broom, dandelions, teasel, and grasses; the bulk of the diet was composed of deervetch, peavine, Scot's broom, vetch, and grasses. Legumes composed the bulk of the diet, were among the most frequently consumed, and were highly preferred. Invertebrate matter (primarily ants, beetles, bugs, and grasshoppers) was present seasonally (51% annual frequency) and composed 0.5% of the diet by dry weight. Frequencies of invertebrate matter were higher in spring and summer (71% and 80%, respectively) than in fall and winter (37% and 43%, respectively). Male and female quail consumed invertebrates with similar frequency. The seasonal response of key foods to disking and burning was evaluated from spring 1986 to spring 1989. Treatments produced increased percent cover and frequencies of occurrence for 7 key foods (6 key foods did not occur with sufficient frequency to evaluate response). Wild carrot and dandelions showed the greatest response with immediate and sustained increases in cover and frequency. Vetch and clover also responded positively. Reduced cover of grasses persisted for only a few seasons. Disking consistently afforded the most immediate increases and maintenance of key foods compared with burning, although treatment effects persisted for only 1-2 years. Management for quail foods should include the establishment and maintenance of legumes and other early seral plant foods. Manipulations should be conducted every 2-3 years in western Oregon and other mesic ranges.
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