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The upland game birds of California include 10 species of quail, pheasant, partridge, turkey, and grouse. They are a public resource, "belonging" to all citizens of the state. Their habitats and populations must be assessed and monitored periodically, not only because the species are harvested, but because many live in environments that are changing rapidly due to human influences. As harvested game species, all are economically valuable to local communities and the state as a whole. Some are demonstrated indicators of ecosystem health (Greater Sage-grouse for sagebrush and Sooty Grouse for mature conifer forest). Some populations are in decline and have been warranted special conservation status (local populations of Greater Sage-grouse and Sooty Grouse). The Ring-necked Pheasant is in decline over much of its former range. The California Quail is the official state bird and a ubiquitous symbol of the state. Scientific methods for assessing the habitats and populations of wildlife have advanced greatly in recent decades. In California, however, there has been limited use of advanced scientific methods for managing upland game birds, due to competing priorities, limited funding, and a lack of upland game research specialits in the responsible agencies. Nonprofit corporations can serve an important role under these circumstances, by identifying goals that are shared among multiple agencies, pooling the limited funds available from those agencies, and conducting the work as a non-governmental partner.


The purpose of the Game Bird Research Group is to conceive, conduct, and publicize scientific research related to the habitat and population ecology of upland game birds, as well as monitor game bird populations over time. Projects will be conducted in close collaboration with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, using funds from multiple government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Accommodations will also be made for university students to collaborate on thesis projects.


The Game Bird Research Group was founded by James Bland in the spring of 2014. The Game Bird Research Group's initial projects were an extension of James' 20+ years of experience studying the Sooty Grouse for California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Organizational structure

The Game Bird Research Group is a nonprofit public benefit corporation. Unlike more familiar nonprofit organizations, it is a non-membership corporation, established for scientific purposes, and aspires to remain small, focused, and efficient. It is comprised of 5 volunteer Directors, a President, a Secretary/Treasurer, and an unspecified number of Research Associates (group members) and Technicians. Day-to-day administrative chores are performed by volunteer Officers and Directors, and the costs of operation are covered through grant overhead fees. Researchers and Technicians work as independent contractors, their wages being budgeted into each project grant.