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Effects of field applications of heptachlor on bobwhite quail and other wild animals

January 1, 1965

A study of the effects of field applications of heptachlor on bobwhite quail (Colinus uirginianus) and other animals was conducted on three similar areas, two in Decatur County, Georgia, and one in Escambia County, Alabama, from February, 1958, to March, 1962. Heptachlor in granules was applied by aircraft on the Georgia areas for eradication of the imported fire ant (Solenopsis saevissima). Applications were directed by personnel of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Plant Pest Control Division. The Alabama area remained untreated. Transects where whistling cocks were counted were superimposed on areas where coveys were counted. Size of areas varied from 14,000 to 20,000 acres. Each area had six transects, totaling 11,000 acres. Whistling cock bobwhites and coveys averaged 28 and 20 per 1,000 acres, respectively, the year before treatment on a Georgia area, and cocks and coveys averaged 25 per 1,000 acres for the duration of the study on the untreated Alabama area. Where portions of an area were treated at 2 pounds of heptachlor per acre, whistling cocks and coveys were reduced significantly, with a greater reduction where a greater amount of land was treated on the area or its transects. A decline of cocks and coveys also followed 1/2-pound applications (approaching statistical significance for coveys). Three years after treatment, cock and covey numbers were below those recorded before treatment. Whistling cocks and coveys also declined on adjoining land which remained untreated (significant for cocks, approaching significance for coveys). This decline was attributed to movements of bobwhites from untreated land to repopulate treated land. There is evidence that some loss occurred in bobwhites after they moved from untreated to treated land; the decrease in each instance was ascribed to the application of heptachlor. Songbirds were listed on the two Georgia areas. The first summer, eight more species and 458 more individuals of permanent resident birds were listed on the untreated area than on the treated area. After half of the originally untreated area was treated with heptachlor at 2 pounds per acre the following winter, the number of resident birds declined 37 percent. Some species of summer resident birds could not be found on treated land after heptachlor was applied. A small plot of 4 acres was intensively searched for dead and dying animals, and observations were made on living animals. Forty-seven days after treatment, no live animals were seen or heard on the plot, and a total of 38 dead animals had been found. Soils were sampled twice after treatment, and residues had declined in the second lot of samples. Twice animals also were obtained for analysis, and residues declined in the second group. Numbers of birds increased in the same period.

Publication Year 1965
Title Effects of field applications of heptachlor on bobwhite quail and other wild animals
Authors W. Rosene
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Wildlife Management
Index ID 5221298
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center