One of the most entertaining discoveries in our new home has been the California quail. OG saw the first quail early one morning, after we bought the house but before demolition began. He returned to the condo and reported 21 quail in the back yard. I was thrilled but had to wait months before it was my turn. One very quiet Sunday morning, as I sat in a folding chair out front waiting for the movers to arrive with our furniture from Minnesota, four quail raced across the driveway as only quail can. I was thrilled.
Because of the construction, we didn't see many more until the landscaping was finished in late February. We occasionally encountered quail standing or running in the street but not in our yard. In late March we moved in, and the real fun began.
What is it about quail and streets? Many times I have watched quail wait patiently on one side of the road until a car approaches then choose that exact moment to zip across right in front of the speeding tires. We call them Kamikaze Quail. It's a definite thing - believe me. We live toward the bottom of a very steep hill, and the quail like to race up and down (always in the middle of the street) in big family groups. Wacky little daredevils. Of their two brain cells, one must be devoted solely to avoiding cars, because I've never seen one hit.
A couple of weeks ago we filled the bid bath and bought a feeder to see what sorts of birds we might attract. Within a few days it was such a hit we had to add a second. One of the fun byproducts has been a huge increase in the number of quail who come to clean up the seeds that fall on the ground. We have one family with four nearly grown chicks and a smaller family with one chick that come every day. Then they occasionally invite family and friends to the frenzy, er, party.
OG didn't like the boulders when the landscaper initially installed them. They were expensive, and he didn't think they looked natural. However, he's since changed his tune because the quail love them. As soon as the family arrives, the father quail climbs on top of the nearest rock to keep an eye on his little flock. He stays there yodeling orders until everyone's eaten their fill, then climbs down for a quick nosh before leading them off to their next stop. OG gets a kick out of this. I think it brings out the paterfamilias in him.