Northern Bobwhite Quail

Courtesy: Daniel Small

BOZMAN, MD - In the sticks of Talbot County, Point Pleasant Farm sprawls across 1,000 acres of farmland and greenery. An idyllic setting for the Northern Bobwhite Quail.
While these birds are not officially classified as endangered, they have become a cause for concern among researchers, particularly due to a significant decline observed in recent years. 
Wildlife management specialist with the University of Maryland Luke Macaulay, emphasizing the challenges faced by the bobwhite population, stated, "They've been experiencing a decline greater than any other bird in all of Maryland."

At Point Pleasant Farm, proactive measures are in the early stages but nonetheless underway to establish a habitat conducive to the well-being of the Northern Bobwhite Quail. The plans include planting thick fields of native flowers and grasses, thinning out densely forested areas, and introducing thick shrubbery. Researchers contend that such a habitat is essential for the birds to hide and stay warm during adverse weather conditions.

"This type of habitat, which has disappeared from many parts of the state, holds snow off the ground. The birds can survive underneath, providing thermal cover, allowing them to stay warm in the cold winter. That's one key component; the other is natural native grassland and wildlife flower habitats," explained Macaulay.

While Point Pleasant Farm currently has no resident quails, Macaulay, and the Point Pleasant Foundation are collaborating to reintroduce wild quails to this haven. Macaulay stated, "We are looking to establish habitat so they can do better and survive better, addressing one of the main causes of their loss. Additionally, we are trying to re-establish populations here to export and reintroduce them to other parts of Maryland, where they are too far away for natural population growth to recolonize."

President of the Point Pleasant Foundation, Harry Shapiro, envisions transforming the farm into a first-class research facility. "We want to introduce best farming practices, best forestry practices, and develop a major facility as a habitat for quail," said Shapiro.

Going Back in time:

The Point Pleasant Farm was originally owned by the Dupont Family. It was put together at the turn of the last century. It was then gifted to the national Audubon Society in 1996. But after that Shapiro explained, "During their Stewardship, the property deteriorated. They did nothing to encourage the habitat." 

It wasn't until early 2010 that the property was brought to the attention of Bob Pascal. And a few short years later Pascal Purchased the 1,000 acres of land. Shapiro added that Pascal spent over $800,000 in renovating buildings on the property and riprapping the shore. 

By 2011, Pascal donated a conservation easement, for the entire property, to Maryland's Department of Natural Resources. This would restrict any development of the property.

Later on, that allowed Pascal and eventually Shapiro's Point Pleasant Foundation to have ownership of the land.

Flash forward to now

Shapiro explained, that creating the farm into a first class facility is Pascal's dream.

According to Macaulay, the introduction of quails to Point Pleasant Farm could be as early as spring 2025, marking a crucial step in the ongoing efforts to conserve and revitalize the declining Northern Bobwhite Quail population.

For more on Maculay's efforts to wildlife management and the practices he will implement to the Northern Bobwhite Quail project click here.

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