Population dynamics of intestinal parasites in reared and wild northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) in the southeastern United States
Rodriguez, Jessica Ann
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Populations of northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) have undergone a dramatic decline in the southeastern United States especially since the mid-1900s. Intensive restoration of bobwhite habitat and introducing pen-raised bobwhites for hunting opportunities are common management tools. I investigated the potential effects of rearing and releasing bobwhites on the intensity and prevalence of their intestinal parasites. Using hunter-harvested birds collected during winter 2004-2005, I found 9 species of helminths. Contrary to other species of gamebirds where rearing pen-raised birds appear to increase parasite loads, my results were indicative of the opposite effects. Bobwhite density only influenced the intensity of one species of parasite. However, prevalence increased as bobwhite density increased for all but one species of parasite. My results suggest that present management and husbandry for bobwhites in the Southeast is not causing deleterious effects that I was able to detect.