1 September 2011

spotted! california quail

I was thinking earlier today that I haven't rambled on about birds at all lately.  Well the other day at school I passed a little family of California Quails.  Each year the eggs hatch (around 15 of them!) around the beginning of summer.  So the chicks that I saw were only just starting to develop that telltale plume of feathers on their heads.  There were only maybe 4 of the chicks, which just goes to show how much predation affects this species.  Since their nest is on the ground and they are somewhat of a flightless species (except for short bursts and glides), it opens them up to a wide variety of threats without sufficient shrubbery for protection.

This is a shot of one from earlier this year; in breeding season the males perch on a high branch or manmade structure to try to impress the gals with their call.  It sounds like chi-ca-go! chi-ca-go!!

Handsome, isn't he?  Here is a another one of him at the feeder.  It was quite humorous to watch it scramble up there, meanwhile the female was standing close by waiting for him to finish a meal and to resume "protecting the family".

Can't wait til I have a camera with nice zoom capabilities.  Anyways, once the chicks have matured, a few different families get together and spend the fall and winter in traveling groups called "coveys".  

Oh and here is the obligatory "aww" photo to finish up with!

Photo: Utah Birds

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