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Wild Masked Bobwhite Quail found on Buenos Aires NWR
Southwest Region, December 1, 2004
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Refuge staff worked cooperatively with staff from Texas A&M University, Kingsville to trap masked bobwhite in the central portion of the refuge in an area long thought to be populated by descendents of wild Mexican birds translocated there in 1999.

Three masked bobwhite coveys had been located by refuge personnel prior to the trapping. A total of 19 bobwhite were trapped in just a little over a week's time. Feathers were pulled from the birds in order to obtain DNA samples to compare with DNA from the captive flock, to DNA from birds translocated to the refuge in 1999 and to historic specimens located in various museums.

Results from the project should be able to indicate whether the release of birds from the captive flock is contributing to the small population of masked bobwhite persisting in that portion of the refuge. It should also tell us whether genetic bottlenecking has occurred over time in both the refuge and Mexican populations and, if so, how much genetic variability has been lost. Results may be used to aid in the decision of whether the refuge should release more captive-reared birds on the refuge.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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