The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

California State Bird

I'm pleased to find that the "California Quail" is my state bird; and due to their plentiful existence its easy to see why.  The bird pictured above is a male.  As in much of nature, the male is significantly more colorful.  Below is the female.
Quails live communally with at least two adult females and two males along with all their young.  They call this a "covey".  Females typically lay 12 eggs once (sometimes twice) a year.  All adults in the covey care for the young.  Nests are found on the ground under or near bushes. 
Quails like to take daily dust baths and feed on seeds, insects, and leaves.  Adults are just a tad smaller than a pigeon, and the babies only look to be about the size of my thumb when I've seen them in the yard. They don't make much noise, just a soft gentle chirp.  They mainly travel by foot and only fly when frightened.  Quail reside here year round, and the California Quail is only found along the Western Coastal States and British Columbia.  My bird feeder is visited daily, I love watching them feed.  Often in the late afternoon, a male will come out of the brush and jump up on top of a rock.  He studies the surroundings for safety and then calls/chirps to the rest of the group to come along.  They climb over the rocks past him and take their dust baths or walk the grass looking for insects.  The male keeps his post and continues standing guard watching out for his group.  When the group is done they head back in the direction that they came from and when the last one has passed the male he will take a final look around and then join the group. 
They're very sweet birds to watch.

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