Sunday, December 02, 2007

I have so many things I want to blog about that I have been paralyzed. I'll try to hit the high spots here, and then hopefully be more current in the future.

First the quail. Very shortly after my last post, half of my quail disappeared. I sat out there every night for weeks, but the only birds that came to the tree were two females and a male--possibly the children from the family of five, and two males, possibly from the other grouping. Since then I have occasionally seen one or more other birds show up at dusk, but never the tight-knit family.

I don't know if something bad happened, or if they all just split up when coveys started to form. I haven't been able to find out anything through Internet research, and I haven't been able to find a quail behavior expert.

Meanwhile, I continue to observe. I only catch the guys going to roost occasionally, but there have been a lot of quail in the back yard, especially since I put out a quail block (see the picture above, with a mourning dove). I have also spotted largish groups of quail pretty much everywhere on the property, and I see smaller groups of up to five or six throughout the neighborhood on my walks.

One of the females that roosts in front (who I suspect is a daughter from the family of quail) lost her tail somehow. I first spotted the tailless quail in the back, at the quail block, then happened to see her in the front. The tail is slowly growing back. It started out as little bitty feather-stubs and now is a few inches long, but still obviously way too short. When she's in the back at the quail block she is usually with the other young female, along with two males and a larger female. Maybe it's the family group reuniting for food? The largest male keeps guard on the top of the fence while the others eat.

In other news, for several days in a row I saw a beautiful mockingbird drinking from the pond. I haven't seen it lately, but am holding out hope that it will set up a spring territory here and breed nearby. The other day when I was out walking I heard the unmistakable sound of a mockingbird calling (but not singing--it's a very weird sound). I glanced over to see a beautiful mockingbird in a pyracantha bush, looking directly at me. I like to think it was the one I've seen, telling me it will be back. The mockingbird picture above is of a bird that frequented my yard in the other house.