Changes in Northern Bobwhite Habitat and Populations in a Southern Mississippi Wildlife Management Area: 1955-1992

Empirical case histories that relate long-term northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) population declines to changing habitat conditions are rare in the scientific literature. We examined long-term (38 years; 1955-1992) changes in habitat conditions and bobwhite population trends at Copiah County Wildlife Management Area (CCWMA), Mississippi. Between 1955 and 1992, proportion of CCWMA in old fields declined from 70% to 20%, proportion of area in forest with <50% canopy cover declined from 18% to 0%, and proportion of forests with >50% canopy cover increased from 19% to 78%. During the same 38-year period, bobwhite density declined from 0.48 birds/ha to 0.08 birds/ha. Harvest rate declined from 1.76 birds/hunter day in 1955 to 0.5 birds/hunter day in 1992

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