Arthropod Response to Strip Disking in Old Fields Managed for Northern Bobwhites

In the southeastern United States northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations have declined rapidly during the past 3 decades. Deterioration of suitable habitat conditions has been suggested as a major cause of this decline. Habitat management efforts typically focus on production of fall/winter foods (i.e., seeds). Management efforts are seldom directed at production of breeding season foods (i.e., arthropods) for bobwhites. Therefore, we used a D-Vac insect vacuum to measure effects of strip disking on arthropod resources in old fields managed for northern bobwhites during the 1992 and 1993 breeding seasons. Disked fields contained greater arthropod biomass than undisked fields. Greater arthropod biomass was supported primarily by increases in phytophagous insects. Arthropod biomass did not differ between years. We recommend strip-disked areas be incorporated into old field management plans for northern bobwhites to provide elevated levels of proteinaceous food resources required by laying females and growing chicks.

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