Here are some quail family photos as they gather to run across the patio!
Six brand new, quail-egg-sized baby quail huddled very close together under the bush last weekend. These individual babies are almost impossible to distinguish from the bark shavings and dirt and each other. Do you see them? Once you see the heads in the one picture, if you go back to the other pictures, you can tell head markings from wings and backs. Have some fun! Then there are a few pictures of older babies and their parents.
Here are some of my previous quail photo blogs.
Kids can count the birds in the backyard! The February 2011 California Least Tern Newsletter of the El Dorado Audubon Society had an article on the Great Backyard Bird Count to be held February 18-21, 2011. This would be a great classroom or family activity! Here is an instructional video all about what you would need to do from the website of the GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count). Here’s How to Participate. Here’s GBBC for Kids!
February 8, 2011—Blackbirds made the headlines when a flock of thousands fell from the skies in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve. Now bird enthusiasts across the continent are counting the birds—not just blackbirds, but birds of more than 600 species—in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. During February 18–21 the event will create an instantaneous snapshot of birdlife across the U.S. and Canada for all to see.
Anyone can help by tallying birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count. At www.birdcount.org, you can enter the highest number of each species seen at any one time and watch as the tallies grow across the continent. Coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada, the four-day count typically records more than 10 million observations.
Last year’s participants reported more than 1.8 million American Robins, as well as rarities such as the first Red-billed Tropicbird in the count’s 13-year history.
“Whether people notice birds in backyards, parks, or wilderness areas, we ask that they share their counts at www.birdcount.org, ” said Judy Braus, Audubon’s senior vice president of Education and Centers. “It’s fun and rewarding for people of all ages and skill levels.”
“When thousands of people all tell us what they’re seeing, we can detect changes in birds’ numbers and locations from year to year,” said Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
“An isolated event such as the dead birds in Arkansas may be within the range of normal ups and downs for an abundant species like the Red-winged Blackbird,” Dickinson said. “But the count can serve as an early warning system for worrisome declines in bird populations that result from more widespread problems.”
Dickinson said past GBBC counts showed a drop in reports of American Crows since 2003, coincident with some of the first widespread outbreaks of West Nile virus in the U.S. Once ranked among the top 4 or 5 most frequently reported species, crows are still among the top 10 birds reported in the Great Backyard Bird Count but they have dropped in ranking since 2003. This “signal” is consistent with data from the more intensive Breeding Bird Survey, as well as studies demonstrating declines of 50–75% in crow populations in some states after outbreaks of West Nile virus.
Maps from the count have also captured the paths of migrating Sandhill Cranes and recorded the dramatic spread Eurasian Collared-Doves. Introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s, the species was reported in just 8 states during the 1999 GBBC. A decade later, it was reported in 39 states and Canadian provinces.
“I have joined the Great Backyard Bird Count for the past three years and am really looking forward to doing it again,” said participant Kathy Bucher of Exira, Iowa. “I really enjoy nature and bird watching. My mother and I share updates on the birds we see. It’s a fun hobby to share with a loved one!”
For more information, including bird-ID tips, instructions, and past results, visit the birdcount website. The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter their bird checklists online.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.
• Miyoko Chu, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, (607) 254-2451 (Eastern Standard Time), firstname.lastname@example.org
• Delta Willis, Audubon, (212) 979-3197 (Eastern Standard Time), email@example.com
• Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada, (250) 493-3393 (Pacific Standard Time), firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website and the All About Birds Bird Guide.
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world.
Bird Studies Canada administers regional, national, and international research and monitoring programs that advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. We are Canada’s national body for bird conservation and science, and we are a non-governmental charitable organization.
National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
Call: (212) 979-3000
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Call toll-free (800) 843-2473
Bird Studies Canada
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0 Canada
Call: (888) 448-2473 or (519) 586-3531
# # #
Grandpa Ron and I have a Red-tailed Hawk, Harris Hawk and Northern Harrier that like to visit for dinner. They perch on the wall outside a window. I captured 2 pictures of the Harris Hawk before he had enough of me and flew off.
… and we always have quail, unless they are hiding…
Just as Grandpa Ron and I were firing up our computers for a little office work around 8 pm this evening, we had a Quail Alert! Mama Quail was quickly leading about 20 baby quail across the vast expanse of our back patio while Papa Quail waited in the rear of the family to make sure that all were safe. We never saw so many babies with only 2 adults! I ran for my camera!
I quickly got two frenzied clips of the babies. Some stayed huddled on the warm patio facing the setting sun while most darted back and forth between the bird feeder and the huddled group on the patio. Then Mama seemed to look at me and said it was time to go! You will see her briefly toward the end of the clip. Then the babies started darting toward her. So I stopped filming. Then I caught them as they fled away!
Can you do a better job of counting them? How many babies are there?
This is the second video of the baby quail visiting the bird feeder with two adult quail at 8 pm on July 2, 2010 in Reno, NV. They scurried across the patio as fast as their little feet could move! They are so cute! RUN! Babies! RUN!!
More of my blogs mentioning and photographing quails and their babies are here.
This morning we woke up to California Quail calls just outside our bedroom window. We started out watching several of the birds on the short wall but then we realized the real action was going on between the wall and the window. A whole family with teenagers were fluttering wings and scratching and flipping dirt like crazy. Five of the teenagers were in the hollow of sandy dirt by three small rocks. Dad stayed on the wall standing guard while Mom guarded the other direction. Three teenage females were scratching around the yucca while their 4 brothers and one sister did the dirt bath thing. Then two of the boys hopped onto a larger rock and pretended to be Dad and then played King of the Hill. The dad of this family has a double topknot and it looks like three boys all have double topknots, too.
Then the warning call sounded and they all scattered under the Russian Sagebrush. A squirrel ran to the dirt bath area and frantically dug further under the small rocks – like he knew he had buried his stash of stolen bird seed there somewhere! Then he frantically covered it all up again to hide his exploits and scantered away.
The birds immediately came back and started their scratching and bathing all over again. Then the squirrel came back to scare the birds away again and dug some more. This time he was letting the dirt fly everywhere as he dug frantically around the rocks again. The seed had to be there somewhere!
Then he reversed his digging one more time and took off. The birds came back and pecked and scratched – must have been that bird seed! Then after a few more wing stretches and flying dirt, Dad said it was enough and the family left to continue their morning trek across the land.
My camera was still in the car in the garage. I was afraid that if I moved across the window to go get it that it would spook them so I just watched the entertainment… Tonight my camera is ready. If they decide to go for another bath tomorrow morning, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get some pictures! Given the look of the spot, it is a favorite one!
Here is a photo of the teenage quail that were such cute fuzz balls back in June.