Monday, March 2, 2009

Winter Wednesday - Week 8 Birds

This week the challenge was to set out a bird feeder and observe the Winter birds that came. While it has primarily been visited by Starling, Field Sparrows and White crested Sparrows. I have glimpsed Quail, Mallards as well as a Robin. The Robin was not feeding out of the feeder of course, but it was eating worms and whatever other bugs it could find close to the feeder.
The sparrows make a mess of the feed which gets scattered onto the ground, in turn it becomes feed for everyone else.
The Quail come out around 4:00 in the afternoon everyday. They are fun to watch. Usually they pair up, but not always. There are about 30 of them and they scurry from here to there so quickly that you have to be careful or you might miss them. Should they see any movement on my part they would be gone in a heartbeat. As a result, pictures have not been an option for me, although I have tried. They just do not turn out. I am too far away.
I have done some research on the California Quail and found out several interesting facts I did not know before. Their Latin name is Callipepla californica.
A very handsome Male Quail.
A Lovely Little Lady. (both pictures come from the Cornell web site)
In a good year a female will lay 2 clutches of eggs. She will leave the first clutch in the care of an associated male. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and leaves, but they also eat some berries and insects.
They seem to prefer sunny places in which to create these dust baths, and an ornithologist is able to detect the presence of quail in an area by spotting the circular indentations left behind in the soft dirt, some 7-15 cm (3-6 in.) in diameter.
Here is some more info I found at the Cornell web site:

Cool Facts
  • The topknot looks like a single feather, but it is actually a cluster of six overlapping plumes.
  • The California Quail digests vegetation with the help of protozoans in its intestine. Chicks acquire the protozoans by pecking at the feces of adults. (This was something I would never have guess at.)
  • Several California Quail broods may mix after hatching and are attended by all of the parents of those broods. Adults that engage in communal brooding live longer than adults that do not.
  • Mated pairs call antiphonally: they alternate calls and fit them into a specific pattern.
  • Despite living in arid environments, the California Quail needs drinking water during periods of sustained heat. During cooler weather, it can get enough moisture from eating insects and succulent vegetation.
  • This is cool too; Quail call, (also obtained from the Cornell site. I love hearing this sound)

    I am looking forward to making an entry into my nature journal about the quail.

    Tomorrow is the last day for Winter Wednesday. I will miss it. It has been an enjoyable journey, making me take the time to really do more than glance at the world around me. I still have the Outdoor hour though, and I plan to expand on it. Especially now that I have my own hard copy book as well as the pdf copy that I can use to print pages from. I should not forget to mention I also have Barbara McCoy's (and company) pdf book of her first 10 Outdoor Hour Challenges.

1 comment:

  1. I love the distinctive California quail call...Chicago! Here is a video I took last year:

    Lovely entry and thanks for spreading the word about the eBook. I too am going to miss Winter Wednesday. :)

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom