Quail tales

One of the fun things about living in Arizona is watching the quail families. I feed the birds in my back yard, and it is a popular hangout for quail. I love it when a quail couple starts bringing their newly hatched little ones to the patio. Quail families are constantly on the move, and spend little time in any one place, so they arrive, feed for just a few minutes, and then are on their way. They are such fun to watch, with the little ping-pong ball sized bits of fluff scurrying after their parents. The chicks do not move in straight lines but swarm around and around one another, careening across the yard like drunken walnuts as the parents move them on to their next destination. They are especially fun to watch at the water dish, where they all hop up on the rim, neatly lined up, dipping and bobbing as they drink. Often they fall in, and flap around splashing their siblings until they flop themselves back out. Most years I have quite a few families that make my yard a regular stop on their daily routine; I watch the chicks grow through the summer until the families eventually split up and the newly adult ones go on their own way.

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