Relocated to Nevada
|Nevada Division of Wildife (NDOW) biologists and personnel spent Labor Day weekend on China Lake Naval Weapons Station, near Ridgecrest, California, trapping chukar and mountain quail to relocate to Nevada.
More than 500 chukar and almost 100 mountain quail were at guzzlers (man-made water catchment basins) and springs located on the China Lake military proving grounds, when military personnel were not using the area, said Sid Eaton, NDOW biologist.
According to Eaton, the birds are easy to capture on the hot days found at the end of summer, when they search for water in the high desert.
The guzzlers are fenced off with small openings allowing the birds access to the water. After watering, the birds are guided by fencing within the guzzler enclosure into small wire pens where they are easily removed for transport to Nevada.
While the mountain quail will be held over the winter for a spring release next year, the chukar were let loose at three locations in southern Nevada, 250 miles from the capture site, augmenting existing populations that have been depleted due to years of drought.
The release coincided with the development of newly established water sources in the form of guzzlers built in the southern Nevada desert. These will provide the birds with the water necessary to help their numbers grow.
Mike Scott, NDOW biologist, explained that the areas were chosen because they closely resemble the area in the California desert where the birds were trapped. Scott said the birds gathered together soon after the release at the Burnt Springs and Seaman Ranges and were observed on the rocky hillsides heading toward nearby water sources.
At a site almost 100 miles away in the Gold Buttes Range, NDOW biologist Christy Signor released another 100 birds with the help of volunteers from the Clark County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife, Quail Unlimited and the National Turkey Federation.
While the mountain quail project has been ongoing and has had funding, the chukar release is new and required additional funding. State wildlife commissioner Jelindo Tiberti II donated $500 through Wildlife Habitat Improvement for Nevada to help jumpstart the project this year.
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