Friday, May 18, 2012

Didja Ever Try to Train a Quail?

Last evening as we were relaxing outside enjoying the air and grilling some fresh corn and a few chicken breasts, we were surprised at the activities of some of our neighborhood quail. Usually the quail will try to stay clear of us, but here was one actually coming up onto our back porch not five feet from where I was sitting.

This particular little bird seemed to be lost and confused, so we figured it was a young one that had wandered too far from home and didn't know where to go. We sat quite still for a while, then encouraged the bird to heed the calls from other quail in the area. Maybe that was Mama's call to come back home.

So the youngster found another quail. The two of them went around the far side of our casita, circled back to where we were sitting. One of them jumped up onto the side table of our very hot grill. We were afraid the bird would get burned, so I yelled and went over to chase it away.

Those two birds continued their act, flying up to the roof of the casita, then to the top of the trailer awning, being fussy all the time. Finally, one of them flew back down to the porch and jumped into this planter to hide!

Now this particular planter (we call him "Grouch" for obvious reasons) never has any live plants in it; we put potted phony flowers in it to look festive. These are the spring flowers. In summer there will be phony geraniums, in fall something with a more orange tone, and at Christmas time, poinsettias. Because the current pot is fairly small, we had put in an old glass hummingbird feeder to help hold the pot in place.

So, feeling that the planter was not a good place for a lost quail to hide, I jiggled the potted plant a little, and the quail shot out of there quickly, knocking the plant over. When I got up to straighten the pot, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a whole planter full of tiny -- really tiny! -- baby quail! That wasn't a lost young'un, that was a Mama panicking about how close we were to her nest and her babies.

Yes, I had the camera, and might have taken a picture of the babies, but I was so concerned about their safety (two of the little fuzzies had already poked their heads over the low edge of the planter in curiosity), I gently replaced the little pot, leaving room for Mama to get back in easily.

So now we are grandparents to what appear to be about a dozen tiny fuzzballs! We certainly hope they will all survive. We understand their most serious predator is the roadrunner, who will clean out a nest in no time. Haven't seen many roadrunners recently, although a few years ago there was one who cut across our lot nearly every morning at 9:00.

And today, we got these pictures!
This is Mama

She's in the door to her new home.

And Papa is on the roof keeping watch.
This is another local quail family, here for a late breakfast. They live across the street and have only four babies left.
The babies are hard to distinguish in the gravel, but they are right up at the base of the porch.

Daddy quail is keeping track of them, but seems to be missing one!

Come back, Charlie! Get over here where you belong.

We are looking forward to watching our little family grow. When they are running around outside, we'll get some more pictures to show you. A new adventure in ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. That is so neat. We had a robin family make a nest on our window sill a couple years ago. We had a ring side seat to everything. Enjoyed watching the goings on but never want to do THAT again. It was nerve racking. A stiff wind blew the nest on the ground and scattered the newborns. Ken was down on his hands and knees searching for these transparent babies. Put them back in the nest, stabilized it and mama and papa came back. They all survived.

  2. How cool is that???? I'd love to have a nest like that so close. You'll really be able to follow their progress. :)

  3. What an interesting place to build a nest!

  4. Hobbies are available all around us!

  5. Cute, I hope you will be able to see the babies come out of the nest.

  6. I've heard if you put salt on the tail of the Quail, you can catch it. Let me know if it really works. LOL

  7. They are lucky they found a safe place to nest:)

  8. I really love the Quail..Their headgear is Tahlula Bankhead..(If anyone has the slightest idea of whom I speak!)

  9. What a hoot! I love watching Quail. I think they are one the funniest birds. Bet you can't wait till Grandparents Day. I wonder what a Quail would buy for his grandparent.

  10. i adore quail. They are the cutest birds ever. Lucky you having them on your doorstep.


  11. You are so fortunate to have a real living slice of nature so close to you & on behalf of all animals in the world I say thank you for treating them so well & watching out for their safety:))

  12. Those quail are so much fun to watch scurrying around the campground. How exciting for you guys to have this wonder happening at your house. And how lucky the birds are to have picked such good grandparents for their babies.

  13. You'll have to keep us posted about your grandquail! Love the pictues

  14. What fun! Hope to see lots of pictures of your new "grandkids"...

  15. Thanks for this superb/educational post. Is this quail variety the “Gambel’s Quail”? As was stated previously, I am happy you are watching out for this little family.

    John and Ellen

  16. Train a quail? I think the quail have successfully trained you two! What a heartwarming story!


Here's your chance to tell us what you think!