July 08, 2005
There are fifteen quail chicks--and two hens--on the road, milling about and peeping.
The California quail is "threatened" (although we must have some 25 or so on our property alone).
The California quail is "threatened" because it nests on the ground. Its evolutionary strategy appears to be to nest on the ground, have lots of chicks, and hope that the local predators are sated before they have eaten all the chicks. The problem is that we East African Plains Apes have added a lot of local predators--cats and dogs--to the California mix.
Its sole advantages are (a) that even young chicks can run quite fast, and (b) that we have lots of blackberry bushes with thorns that make up a fearsome barrier to coyotes, raccoons, cats, dogs (but not rats). The adults are amazing runners, and can fly--although they do so only at the last extremity.
We won't speak of the one among our adult male quails that has two legs but only one foot. Its days appear quite numbered...
Posted by DeLong at July 8, 2005 11:11 AM