Thursday, January 18, 2018

1/18 Gambel's Quail

I love these little guys, but they are very fast and always seem to be going somewhere.  Unlike the legendary Wiley Coyote who in real life is silent as he races through the desert, these guys are always in flocks and constantly talk to one another.  You can hear them coming with their "mip-mip  mip-mip-mip" sounds.  I think they are mostly calling to one another so they can stay together.  (Don't miss my quail story at the end.)

Anyway, I was sitting in my recliner inside my motorhome, when I heard their cheeping, so I jumped up and grabbed my camera.  

First, you need to understand that it is VERY hard to get a photo of a quail.  You have to be very stealthy and also fast.  This is a photo of where a quail used to be, with me hiding behind my slide.  

Gotchya!!  You can tell this is a female by her smaller topknot and paler colors on her head. 

And this is a male, identified by the darker and more defined colors on his head and the slightly larger topknot. They really are pretty birds. 

And this is how they usually look--definitely a bird in a hurry!  I have never seen one fly, but they really can run fast, especially if they are trying to keep up with their group. 

Confession: Rather than chase birds all day, I reached into my storage compartment and grabbed a couple of handfuls of bird seed that I accidentally dropped.  Made all the difference.  (Honestly, I really never feed the animals, but I figure this was pretty harmless since they are seed-eaters.)

Pretty bird and good view of his topknot. 

Check out the corn kernel in his beak. 

Where did he get that seed? 

Edge of my campsite, looking towards restroom and shower building.  There are also a couple of washers and dryers, so I did five loads of laundry when I got here.  Good thing I carry a LOT of clothes as things were getting pretty desperate. 

OK, now for my quail story.  I always visit the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix when I am in the area.  It is on top of a hill and along with the planted cactus and shrubs, there are natural areas around it, so there are always visiting roadrunners, quail, and other birds.

Last time I was there, I did not see any quail, so I asked one of the docents.  She said to check the cafeteria and that the birds would be back in the exhibits after lunch.  The cafeteria?!?!?

She was right.  These normally very shy birds had learned that the large outside eating area next to the cafeteria was a great place for crumbs.  There must have been 50 of them scurrying around underneath tables looking for food!  And when the lunch rush was finished, they did indeed leave the eating area and head back to the cactus beds.  Smart birds.  

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