California Quails in Our Back Yard

While working in the back yard two days ago, I heard the call of California Quails — a first in our residential area; it was rather unexpected. Normally, we briefly see them on our local trails, where the sound of their fast wing beats are the most notable thing (“PRRRRRRRR”) as they fly away… they are very shy and skittish.

Yesterday morning when I woke up, I heard their distinct clucking, and an occasional call. I alerted Shuwen and we remained indoors, behind the open window of our bedroom. A few minutes later, a bird or two came down the slope from the neighbor and into our backyard. Delightful!

I didn’t even think about making photos at first and just wanted to enjoy these new visitors and watch their behavior, but then more and more came. A flock of 12 birds (called a covey or bevy; and btw. they’re really hard to count!) with males, females and juveniles walked all around, inspected everything, drank sips from the bird bath, and was just very, very adorable. 🙂 It was irresistible.

I managed to slowly and carefully open one of the screen doors, just enough to peek out with the long 200-500mm lens, and without alerting the birds. (making photos through the glass or through the screen doesn’t really work; the images are soft or distorted). It was an overcast morning so it was still pretty dark, but these three frames came out nice.

Aren’t they THE cutest birds ever?!

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