ONE of Britain’s most threatened game birds, the tiny quail, is making a come-back here in Yorkshire according to Natural England.
First indications are that this is an excellent breeding season for most birds and staff at Natural England’s Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve report a sharp rise in the number of the tiny quail, our smallest game bird, which is shot in huge numbers on mainland Europe.
And if the breed is prospering in the East Riding, odds are that it is also making a comeback in North Yorkshire, where it once thrived on high moorland.
Despite being a very weak flyer, the quail is Britain’s only migratory game bird and very precious - it’s on the Red List of declining species. With a population usually numbering between 100 – 300 pairs or singing males, the 17 singing males in the Lower Derwent Valley offer a real boost to the population.
Natural England staff and volunteers have been rallying to carry out surveys on their welcome visitors. They have also been using a little known ringing technique on some of the birds they found and it met with instant success: only 52 quail have ever been successfully ringed in the UK since 1900!
Craig Ralston Natural England Reserve Manager said: “We are delighted to see such a positive increase in quail numbers. People often talk about there being good quail years, well this is certainly one for us.”