Effects of fire management on northern bobwhite brood ecology

  • Jesse T. Kamps
  • William E. Palmer
  • Theron M. Terhune
  • Greg Hagan
  • James A. Martin
Original Article


Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus chicks require ample invertebrates for growth and feather development. Early successional or resprouting vegetation provides invertebrates for chicks but may not provide other resources such as roosting and loafing cover that is typically provided by later successional stages. Thus, management for bobwhites provides multiple seral stages in close proximity but the effects of landscape interspersion have not been tested for bobwhite broods. During a 2-year study, we explored the effects of landscape complementation and food availability on growth and survival of bobwhite chicks. We found growth of chicks to be negatively related to home range size which was negatively correlated to the amount of area burned. We also found survival of chicks to be positively related to the amount of burned area (i.e., foraging area) within brood home ranges. To maximize the growth and survival of bobwhite chicks, it would be necessary to increase access to foraging areas while decreasing the size of brood home ranges. Access to foraging areas can be created through frequent prescribed fire at small spatial scales.


Northern bobwhite Prescribed fire Landscape complementation Interspersion and juxtaposition index 



The authors would like to thank the employees of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for their assistance in this research. They would also like to thank the numerous technicians and volunteers that assisted with fieldwork. We are appreciative to the two reviewers and editor that improved this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesse T. Kamps
    • 1
  • William E. Palmer
    • 2
  • Theron M. Terhune
    • 2
  • Greg Hagan
    • 3
  • James A. Martin
    • 4
  1. 1.Mississippi State University College of Forest ResourcesForest and Wildlife Research CenterMississippiUSA
  2. 2.Tall Timbers Research Station and Land ConservancyTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation CommissionTallahasseeUSA
  4. 4.University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural ResourcesSavannah River Ecology Lab, University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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