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Northern Bobwhite

Northern BobwhiteThe northern bobwhite is often referred to as an “edge” species, seeking habitat where crop fields intersect with woodlands, pastures and old fields. Historically, land use favored bobwhite, but changes in land use and how lands are managed have caused the bird’s numbers to dip by more than 80 percent over the last 60 years.

Bobwhites depend on early successional habitat that includes field borders, grasslands, shrubby areas, and fallow fields. These habitats have the seeds, legumes and insects that bobwhite need for food and brood rearing, and the native grasses and brushy cover for nesting and protection. To help reverse bobwhite declines, NRCS is working with private landowners in Maryland to establish field borders, hedgerows, and shrubby cover, and replace non-native grasses with native grasses, forbs and legumes that benefit bobwhite and other wildlife.


  • Establish habitats consisting of native forbs, grasses, and shrubs on crop fields and associated lands
  • Convert areas of non-native herbaceous vegetation, such as pastures, buffers, and field borders, to native herbaceous plant communities
  • Conduct thinning and selective harvest or removal of trees at the interface of woodlands and agricultural lands
  • Remove and control invasive species to maintain or facilitate the establishment of native vegetative communities
  • Implement early successional habitat management activities such as disking, mowing, prescribed burning, and fallowing to enhance plant diversity and provide resources for foraging and brood-rearing

Available practices:Map of northern bobwhite focus areas in Maryland

  • Brush Management
  • Conservation Cover
  • Early Successional Habitat Development and Management
  • Fence
  • Field Border
  • Firebreak
  • Hedgerow
  • Herbaceous Weed Treatment
  • Prescribed Burning
  • Prescribed Grazing
  • Restoration and Management of Rare and Declining Habitats
  • Riparian Herbaceous Cover
  • Tree & Shrub Establishment
  • Tree & Shrub Site Preparation
  • Upland Wildlife Habitat Management
  • Woody Residue Treatment

Working Lands for Wildlife provides financial and technical support to increase conservation efforts and share the cost of conservation practices with landowners in the areas known to support one or more of the selected  species.  Producers and landowners can enroll in WLFW on a continuous basis at their local NRCS office.

Landowners in Queen Anne's, Kent, Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset counties should contact Katie Biggs (NRCS) at or Bob Long (DNR) at to find out more.