• birds;
  • Conservation Reserve Program;
  • Delaware;
  • landscape;
  • Maryland;
  • northern bobwhite;
  • unmarked


The northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus; hereafter bobwhite) has experienced substantial population declines in recent decades in the United States, and especially in Maryland and Delaware. The United States Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) could provide additional habitat for bobwhites, leading to an increase in bobwhite abundance. I investigated if bobwhite abundance was related to the percent cover of CRP land and landscape attributes in local landscapes on Maryland's Eastern Shore and Delaware. Observers conducted bobwhite point transect surveys at 113 locations during the breeding seasons of 2006–2007, and I calculated landscape metrics for 500-m radius landscapes centered on each point transect location. Most CRP land in the study landscapes was planted to herbaceous vegetation. Bobwhite abundance was strongly positively associated with percent cover of CRP land in the landscape but was not strongly related to percent cover of agriculture or forest or to landscape patch density. These results suggest that the CRP has created additional habitat for bobwhites in Maryland and Delaware and that landscapes with greater proportions of herbaceous CRP practices support more bobwhites. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.