Friday, August 12, 2011

Father's Day Quail Story

Father's Day afternoon we observed a flock of quail and some brand new chicks making the dangerous trek across the neighbors backyard. Unfortunately their dog took a couple of the chicks.  Once out of the backyard, the survivors had more challenges to come; crossing the raging waters of the gutter, then crossing the street to the safety of my yard. We stood guard making sure the quail made it across the street without getting run over.

It was pouring rain and the poor chicks were soaked. The parents quickly ducked under my front shrub, but only a couple chicks were able to nestle under the adults. The other three wandered and struggled until they collapsed on my sidewalk in cold puddles of water. At that point, I decided intervene. I picked up the cold and exhausted chicks and placed them under the shrub with the adults.

A couple hours later I checked on them. The adults were gone and sadly the three little chicks lay there and appeared to be dead. I gently scooped them up in my hand and found there to be some life in them. I picked off a couple opportunistic ants and then placed the quail chicks in a cardboard box. Then I put them on the kitchen stove which had just been used to cook Father's Day dinner. The oven was off, but was still nice and warm. After about a half hour on top of the warm stove they were up and running around in the box, chirping away. It seemed a miracle!

I noticed that one of the chicks still had a bit of the nail on the top of the beak, used to break open the egg, so these must have been very recent hatchlings. They were so cute.

Now that the chicks had revived, I went looking for the parents. I found some adult quail roosting in the neighbors hedge. The gentleman neighbor saw me with the box of baby quail and upon learning what I was doing he kindly locked up his cat. I placed the chicks inside the base of the hedge and backed away. Within seconds an adult male Quail dropped down and nestled the three little chicks underneath of him. It was the most beautiful and touching thing to witness on a Father's Day!!!

Here we are a couple month's later and we have at least two families of California Quail visiting our backyard feeding area.  There are at least four juvenile quail...I hope a couple of them are those that we rescued.

Side Note:  We have a female California Quail that has become a neighborhood celebrity, known as "The Blonde Quail."  She lacks normal pigmentation and is a gorgeous caramel color all over.


  1. A Happy Ending Story, I like that.

  2. Lovely blog and photos! It's hard to know whether to intervene or not. You did the right thing. Also, kudos to your neighbor for keeping his cat at bay. Too bad the dog got some of the chicks, though.

  3. @Phil - Yeah...I figured it being Friday and all a story with a happy ending would be appropriate.

    @birdspazz - thanks for commenting at Birding is Fun! When it comes to bird rescue you sometimes have to act with your head and not your heart to know what the right thing to do is.

  4. Awesome story! Just love it! Makes me want to cry! I hope they survived too! Thanks for intervening!