Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which consists of 118,000 acres of ungrazed savannah grassland in the Altar Valley in southern Arizona near the Mexican border is the only place in the United States where the Masked Bobwhite Quail can be found. I have heard estimates of between 100 and 500 individuals in the wild which makes it an extremely rare bird.
Male Masked Bobwhite Quail.
Without the captive breeding program it is likely that the Masked Bobwhite would have vanished altogether. Offspring from the program are released annually into the wild at BANWR. Although the captive breeding program has maintained the small population at BANWR the single most important issue facing the recovery effort is habitat restoration.
These are really beautiful birds that were brought to the brink of extinction by cattle grazing which destroyed their habitat. This is a program that interests me a great deal and I intend to learn more about it and hopefully I can arrange a visit to the captive breeding facility and report on it here at Sonoran Connection. Information on Buenos Aires can be found here: www.friendsofbanwr.org/friendsofbanwr.org/Welcome.html