CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Chris, do you see any quail out here, anywhere?

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“I don’t think so,” Chris Greene said. “Haven’t heard any either.”

They call out for bob white, or something like that, don’t they?

“They sure do,” Greene said.

You know I haven’t…. Oh, Hi, didn’t know you were with us here this morning. This is Chris Greene. And Chris is biologist for Natural Resources Conservation Service, with USDA. And you’ve been out here, all day long, looking for quail, haven’t you?

“Most of the day, yes,” Greene said.

Have you found any?

“Not a one,” Greene said.

I’ve been looking for quail for 50 years, and I haven’t seen any. And I know their populations have headed down in a tumultuous way.

“Yeah, that’s true,” Greene said. “I can say from the scientific literature I’ve read about 80% of the population has declined in the last 30 years.”

So are there any initiatives going on that are trying to repopulate the Cornbelt with quail?

“Funny you should ask, there is an initiative called the working lands for wildlife initiative that is sort of a partnership between the NRCS and the US fish and Wildlife Service, mostly to be administered by the NRCS and basically what we are trying to do is encourage landowners and farmers and ranchers to see if there is a portion of their property that they would like to put into some sort of quail habitat, with our assistance, whether it be financial assistance or technical assistance,” Greene said.

And they can go to their local NRCS office and get all of the details and that.

“That’s correct,” Greene said.

It’s neat when you can tell your grandkids, did you hear that? And you heard (whistle). And all of a sudden, they say, I heard that! We’ll try to get some of that coming back at us. We appreciate Chris Green, biologist for NRCS, being with us, as we and a lot of people try to re-establish this area as a quail haven. (whistle) (whistle response).

That’s our report from the farm, I’m Stu Ellis for WCIA-3, your local news leader.