Sunday, January 17, 2010

California Quail

When I first moved to the Okanagan Valley, I kept hearing a comical "woo hoo" sound. It was such a silly sound, that I had to find out what it was. I asked but amazingly couldn't find anyone that knew or even noticed.

One day, while out walking, I heard the sound again and was determined to find it, so I followed the sound. Sitting on a post, overlooking the yard was a chubby, little bird with a feather curling straight up and out of his forehead. I had heard of quail before and even had seen pictures of them before but never really paid attention, until I saw them up close.

It didn't take long to realize that this fellow sitting on the post was a guard for the flock feeding in the grass down below him. Apparently, local orchard owners imported them to eat the bugs and they do an excellent job and their numbers have been increasing until now, they roam in flocks everywhere.

California Quail have become an everyday sighting for me now. They are not hard to find in this area, especially in the spring, when the chicks are out feeding. The guard male "woo hoo's" almost constantly and between that and his silly plume he always brings a smile.

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