“Bobwhites on the Brink,” a five-part film series by the syndicated television conservation news magazine, This American Land, examines the reasons for the nationwide decline of the bobwhite quail and the efforts being made to reverse the trend on the American landscape. In the fourth segment (#604) of the series, viewers are brought to Kansas in large part due to the success of the state’s Conservation Reserve Program in providing species habitat. The segment explores how agricultural operations in the U.S. have morphed from small field/multi-farm set-ups, to giant corporate expanses of row crop acreage, and how Kansas is leading the country in demonstrating how bobwhite habitat can be successfully integrated on working lands.
Some Kansans may have viewed the series on Smoky Hills Public Television and on the Kansas Topeka Washburn University PBS stations late last year, but for those who missed it, there’s still time to tune in. “Bobwhites on the Brink” will air on KTWU Channel 11, Topeka, Sundays at 3:30 p.m., beginning January 15. However, the last two shows of the series (#604 and #605) will air at 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on February 5 in a 1-hour block. The series will also be available online on the This American Land website, www.thisamericanland.org/Episodes/season-six; on NBCI’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/BringBackBobwhites; and on the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Upland-Birds/Bobwhite-Quail.
The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), in partnership with select states, worked over a period of several months to help develop the story. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism worked directly with NBCI to demonstrate how the expansion of mechanized clean-farming techniques in row crop agriculture have effected bobwhite quail, among other grassland birds and wildlife species.
In addition to Kansas, film crews visited South Carolina, Texas, and Kentucky to document how a decline in active forest management and the conversion of livestock grazing operations from native grasses to exotic fescue across millions of acres, combined with changes in row-crop agriculture, have decimated habitat range-wide for bobwhites and related wildlife over time.