Thursday, August 07, 2008

     Okay; one more post on quails. Back when I was obsessively watching the families and trying to tell one from another, I noticed that one young quail in a very large family (I think there were 12 chicks) had been hatched with only one wing. At first he seemed to do just fine. He had that excited, curious, high-energy aspect that all baby birds seem to possess, and did well following his parents and siblings, though he was already noticeably smaller than the sibs.
     After a few days, though, I could tell that he was falling behind. He couldn't run as fast as the others--he'd be straggling behind as they all scurried across the back yard. He never seemed to lose his good spirits, though. One day he climbed on top of the quail block to feed with his father. Then the whole family left. He could not figure out how to get down. He tried running back and forth across the top of the block, looking over the edge as he decided whether or not to jump. His family was getting farther and farther away. Finally, he jumped into the air and tried to fly on his one pitiful little wing. He hit the ground in a heap, scrambled up, and took off after his family.
     I never saw him again.

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