Tuesday, August 04, 2009

As the quail turns, continued

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But first! Barrel cacti are starting to bloom all over the neighborhood.

Quail update: my babies are growing up.  Many of the adorable little fuzzy chicks have grown into gangly teenagers. In the very large families it is a crowded table around the quail block. The chicks still follow their parents, but you can see some of them striking out on their own, particularly when they aren’t ready to stop eating when the rest of the family leaves.

This can have tragic consequences, as my little abandoned chick showed. Yesterday I saw another recently-abandoned chick in the yard outside the French doors. This one was fairly young, and he was running back and forth, clearly looking for something (his family). It was very hot, 107 degrees, and I expect he must have been exhausted. Whenever he saw a quail-sized bird, including doves, he ran toward it. The doves ignored him, the adult quails chased him. He ran over to the pond garden a couple of times, looked around, then returned to the central part of the yard. The last time I saw him, he was being chased and PECKED, by an adult male.

Survival of the fittest. Cruel. I guess the message is, don’t strike out on your own before you are ready. Always obey your parents. If you get left behind, you are doomed.

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