Friday, June 24, 2005

June 24, 2005
There's been a little rain, but it's not yet the monsoon. Sure feels like it, though, with high dewpoints and humidities higher than 30.

Mama dove's babies hatched sometime a few days ago. I first noticed she seemed to be sitting a little higher than usual. It turns out that's because instead of sitting on eggs, she was sitting on babies. By the time I saw them, they were already feathered. But still very little, and unlike other baby birds, who seem to spend a lot of time squawking and screaming to be fed, these guys remain completely motionless, as she was while brooding. They are striped and dull-colored, and look very much like the twigs that make up the nest, except for their little black beady eyes that occasionally blink. I took a photo, and will try to post it, but truthfully it doesn't look like much.

Yesterday afternoon the pond was visited in close succession by three quail families, all of whom spent some time drinking and poking around on the ground. The first family had three babies--two rather large and one quite small. I'm assuming they are from two separate broods, but wonder why so few babies?

The second family had five or six medium-sized chicks. They were at the stage where their topknots look like mohawks. They reminded me a bit of our old next-door neighbor, who for some inexplicable reason has worn a mohawk for several years.

The third family had at least nine medium-to large chicks. They made quite a picture, all crowded around the water. It was very, very, very gratifying to see all these adorable young quail and to feel that my riparian area has made their lives a bit more pleasant and predictable.

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