Quail Chicks in the Courtyard
I was working in the casita this morning when I heard the clucking of a Gambels Quail family. When I looked out my window I saw them scurrying around the plants. Quickly I grabbed my camera.
These little guys have feathers so they are a few weeks old. When they're first hatched they look like fuzz balls on stilts. They zoom around the yard following their mom and dad at an amazing speed. I've never been able to get a picture of them at that stage. They're invisible against the gravel, which is probably best. We have owls, hawks and other predatory birds here that would love a quail snack.
The adults are great parents. One leads the group and one brings up the rear. They never leave the chicks unattended. Once they were in the casita the male flew to the top of the wall to watch for danger.
They stayed ten or fifteen minutes hunting through the seeds and leaves. Some people around here pick up every leaf and seed that drops. Some even call it "litter".
As you can see, I'm not one of those people! I see seeds and leaves as part of the food chain. Although looking at these pictures, I realize I could tidy up a little and still have a banquet of left overs for the wildlife. Maybe I'll do that when it cools down. In the meantime I'm enjoying watching these guys feast.
One of the adults, probably the female but I'm not sure.
A solo chick
I hope the quail enjoyed their breakfast and come back soon.