Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quail: Don't Bother Me

A male quail and his mate were hanging out in the backyard at my parents home. They were enjoying the birdseed I had thrown on the ground just for them. Earlier, they eyed the feeder, which was dangling precariously from a wobbly plant hanger. The male would walk on the fence right behind the feeder, glaring, chirping, glaring more, doing his best to will the birdseed into his belly. The sparrows laughed at him, they were light and bold enough to balance on the feeder. Damn you, said the quail.

An hour passed, I forgot about the quail and when Celeste wanted to be let out, I obliged.

The horror! Danger, danger, danger!!! A loud chorus of angry avians screamed obscenities at Celeste. She was overjoyed - birds to chase! She flushed out the quail, danced alongside the base of the fence, tongue lolling, eyes hoping - HOPING HARD - a bird might fall into her mouth. Then the allure of the dirt called to her, pee time!

The female quail perched up in this tree, shooting daggers at the canine below. She refused, absolutely refused, to move from her spot, even if there was a 45lb dog slathering to eat her up. Harumph, don't bother me, she said. Celeste lost interest quickly, as is her way, and quail let out a strange call. I took it as a triumphant sound, but she was probably just sighing in relief and yelling at her mate for his quick abandonment of her (he was two houses away, yelling loudly for her to join him).

I'll remember to warn the birds now when I let the dogs out. Mina could care less, but Celeste is pretty certain I placed the birdseed out to lure food, also known as birds, to her pearly white teeth.

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

I hadn't been to your blog today, but I did do a post on Gambel's quail:

One thing I like about the Southwest is the large numbers of 'backyard' quail.

Our native quail (Northern bobwhite) is nearly extirpated, the result of the decline of the agricultural economy and the return of dense woodland.

You'd be amazed how tame New World quail get, especially if reared in captivity. I have had some bobwhites that were tamer than most chickens.

Bobwhites are also monogamous (at least in their overt behavior, though maybe not in their mating habits). They just pair up.