Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Quiet Covey of California Quail - Callipepla californica

I was just going to aim my hose spray into the north-facing valley to water the spring planted twinberry and buckeye, when I heard quiet scritching and saw a small covey of California quail (Callipepla californica) - about four adults and 10-15 chicks, feeding.
Here's a female, among the California blackberry vines (Rubus ursinus):
California quail is our state bird, but their typical call is generally given as "Chicago! Chicago!" You'd think we could come up with a California town - how about "Modesto! Modesto!" - Oh well.

Lookit - this is cute: Now you don't see them...
Now you do...
You can see how they scritch little hollows in the soil. Here's a short video I got of those two, and a nearby sentry. One male generally always stands guard, keeping an eye open for threats:



I also got some fun pictures when they later came into the pool area. The picture heading this entry is the male on sentry duty, perched on the fence just above the group below.
I think they must have been eating gritty bits from the concrete. Then one male flew up to the top of the fence,
And all the little birds followed. Then, one by one, they disappeared on the other side.

7 comments:

steph said...

How very sweet! And how very lucky you are!

Katie said...

Great pictures and video! Quail are so skittish - they always run even when I have a long range lens on my camera. This was very up close and personal. Thank you!

ryan said...

That's great. I've always liked their little crown feathers.

Barbara E said...

How lovely is that!! Thanks for sharing.

Town Mouse said...

Oh, that's just so amazing! thanks!

susie said...

Oh what great photos, I have always loved the quail being a California Gal myself. We just don't see as many down here in my area. I didn't know about the male standing sentry.

lostlandscape (James) said...

I don't get a chance to see our state bird very often. Very cool. Thanks!