Bobwhite quail need seeds in their quail habitat to survive. Habitat management is critical to retaining wild populations of bobwhite quail. The identification, preservation and propagation of seed bearing perennials is one of the easiest and best habitat management practices you can implement.
Dry, open flats and hillsides are the home of Two-Leaved Senna. It may have 1 or several erect stems averageing 1-2′ high. The leaves grow up to 3″ long with petioles up to 1″ long. Each leaf has a pair of leaflets 1-2″ long and 1/4″ wide. Peduncles 1-2″ long rise from the axils, each with 2-5 yellow flowers 3/4 – 1″ across. Blooms April – October. Not to be confused with Lindheimer’s Senna which has wider leaves and blooms Sept – Nov.
Seed Bearing Plants as Quail Habitat
Two Leaved Senna (Senna Roemeriana) is Texas native perennial that grows in a mound shape up to approximately 1-2 feet tall. It has small yellow flowers on long stalks. It grows in well drained limestone soil in dry, open flats and hill sides. The leaves are long stalked and divided into two leaflets. Due to it’s somewhat toxic nature, it is highly deer resistant and produces seed pods that attract wild birds.
Quail Habitat Management Practices
I make it a monthly practice to identify and document a potential beneficial plant as part of my quail habitat management plan. The goal of my quail habitat management plan is to provide a habitat and environment that is attractive to the wild bobwhite quail I release from my surrogator. Bobwhite quail will migrate significant distances to find the most favorable habitat. Once I’ve identified and documented the plants beneficial to bobwhite quail habitat, I then develop an easy and sustainable program to promote the continued growth of that plant.
Management of Two Leaved Senna
Since the two leaved senna prefers open, well drained limestone hillsides, my plan includes the following steps
- identify and GPS mark areas on the ranch where two leaved senna already exists
- trim and remove bushy plants in those areas subject to the “softball rule” for the distances between “quail houses”
- research the best times of the year and methods for planting additional two leaved senna seeds
- locate and purchase two leaved senna seeds
- plan for planting
Quail Habitat Summary
Managing and improving the native plants and quail habitat on our ranch is critical to preserving and improving my investment in the quail I’m raising in the surrogator. One of the best lessons I’ve learned from my quail habitat management mentors is “don’t start anything you can’t sustain”. Thus, my quail habitat management plans proceed slowly but diligently each month.