June 9, 2014

Parenthood

Several quail families come and eat the seed spilled from the bird feeders. We have two kinds: Gambel's and scaled quail. The brood usually start out as about a dozen chicks. Eggs are laid over a number of days, but they hatch all at once and the chicks are immediately able to walk and eat on their own. They are about as big as golf balls and can run like the wind.

Over years of watching the goings on from our own breakfast table, we have concluded that also in the bird world there are parents who care and those that could not care less about their kids. Gambel's' appear to be better parents than the scaled. Dad has guard duty and scopes out the situation before Mom and the chicks appear, and she keeps an eye on the kids while everybody eats. No surprise, there are more Gambel's than scaled quail and some parents bring every chick to adulthood.


The males are adamant about running off other families, and are not afraid to take on Roadie or her brood should they come too close. One Gambel's father gets the prize. He appeared at the feeders with twenty-one chicks and no mate, and has been able to keep the whole family together. He does rule his brood with an iron foot, no wandering off too far or you will be chased into the flock.

1 comment:

webb said...

Just precious!