July 17, 2010

Another family

Everything seems a bit late this year. The quail are still having families. The other day we came barrelling down the driveway and surprised a Scaled quail family with tiny babies, just a couple of days old. The parents went one way, one of the babies followed, ran into a pebble as big as itself and ran back to the rest of the kids. We backed up the car to let the family get reunited because with these large broods it is easy for the family to get separated and those babies, though precocious, do need parental protection.

It is amazing to me that the quail lays her eggs a few at a time, as any other bird, but rather than the eggs hatching in sequence, all the quail eggs hatch at once. And straight out of the egg these youngsters, no bigger than a golf ball, walk, run and fly.

A pair of Gambels carefully came up to the feeder this afternoon. Dad scopes out the scene and chases off the doves and any other "riff raff", while mom awaits with the brood in the shadow of a bush. Then, when the coast is deemed clear she brings all the kids over to have at the seeds.

Good parents keep a sharp eye on everyone and keep the brood together, but we have also seen parents who do not appear to realize they have kids and consequently their broods are small: sometimes only one chick survives. However last year we saw two pair of Scaled quail who had combined forces and herded more than 20 chicks, with the males defending and the females doing the gathering of the covey.

1 comment:

webb said...

So cool! They are just darling. THanks for looking out for them.