}

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gambel's Quail

quail sentry
Gambel's Quail are ubiquitous desert neighbors in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. With their characteristic bobbing headdress, they scurry across roads and peck around in the chaparral. They're certainly some of the most amusing birds to watch. They resemble the California Quail but Gambels are a unique species and the two quails' habitats don't overlap. The female and young are more modestly dressed than the males. They spend a lot of their time on the ground foraging and even nest on the ground, but they can and do fly. When a hawk soars overhead, quail tribes explode in a whir of wings and scatter into the bushes. If you're hiking and you startle a group of quail, prepare to be startled yourself!

Erin took these photos of a particular group of quail that hang out on the wall in our yard. A few months ago, many quail in this group were just little chicks chasing their parents in  their signature single-file line across our driveway. 
genuflect
mrs and mr quail
gambels quail
bird party
The mourning doves and quail seem to enjoy a sort of truce. The doves' range vastly exceeds the quails' - it stretches across most of sub-arctic North America.

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