The Town of North Hempstead became the first municipality on Long Island to successfully conduct a “quail pilot program” designed to re-establish Northern Bobwhite Quail to the area so that the birds can combat disease-carrying ticks, without the use of pesticides. North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Council Members Lee Seeman, Peter Zuckerman and Dina De Giorgio and Town Clerk Wayne Wink joined with Ranger Eric Powers, the host of the NHTV’s nature show “Off the Trail” today to release the home-raised quail into the town’s Hempstead Harbor Trail and other locations. About 50 onlookers of all ages took part in ceremony.
Watch the quail release here at www.facebook.com/townofnorthhempstead.
The quail were incubated from eggs in the town’s TV studio at the “Yes We Can” Community Center in Westbury. After the eggs hatched in late May, the baby quail were kept at the studio for about another two weeks, then transferred to Caleb Smith State Park in Smithtown Park in Suffolk County where they spent the next six weeks maturing. There were 28 quail released today, 14 along the Hempstead Harbor Trail at North Hempstead Beach Park and another 14 on 200-wooded acres across from the park.
“Lyme disease is a very serious condition caused by deer ticks, which are prevalent in wooded areas and grasslands all over Long Island,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “When I learned about the Northern Bobwhite Quail study I was very interested to have the town participate. The town is constantly on the lookout for natural methods we can use to control disease-causing pests that do not involved using toxic chemicals. The fact that we also got to raise the quail ourselves and enjoy watching the eggs hatch, well that was just part of the fun. Now they will go out into the world and serve as our superheroes against ticks.”
Northern Bobwhite Quail’s populations have been decimated on Long Island over the years due to their number one predator—feral and indoor-outdoor cats.
“Cats take a massive toll on our ground-dwelling wildlife, such as Bobwhite Quail, which turns out to be our front line of defense against ticks,” Powers said. “So the biggest help anyone can do is to keep your cats inside. If the community wants my help re-establishing quail populations around Long Island to combat ticks then I need your help in return…please keep your cats inside.”
The NHTV station was not the only place incubating quail eggs. Mr. Powers also worked with dozens of schools across Long Island who set up incubators in their classrooms and raise the quail as part of their animal life cycle studies that teaches science, environmental studies and responsible stewardship.
To join the springtime Quail vs Ticks Study, visit Ranger Eric’s website at www.YC2N.com.
View North Hempstead TV programming on Channels 18 or 63 on Cablevision or Channel 46 on Verizon, or visit www.myNHTV.com or www.youtube.com/townofnorthhempstead.