Friday, August 03, 2007

A Short Story

About a month ago while working in my garden I watched a little quail calling his heart out from the roof top of our house. After about 30 minutes of calling and not getting a reply he moved to the roof of the tool shed. From the tool shed he moved to the greenhouse and then back to the house. He sounded so lonely it made my heart ache to listen to his cry.

I could hear other quail calls from farther away in the valley but never in response to his call. He ignored these ‘other’ calls and kept up his vigilance from his perilous pinnacles for several days.

One morning I noticed that he no longer called. I could hear the calls of other quail but not my little Lonely Guy. His call is very different from other quail. I think that's the reason I noticed him in the first place.

My greatest fear was that our feral cat had invited him over for dinner or a light snack. I cannot tell you how delighted I was a day later when I discovered he had not become ‘cat food’ after all. He was foraging in the garden and made a hasty exit when he realized he had been spotted.

About a week ago I spied two adult quail in the garden. One of them was my ‘Lonely Guy’. The two quail naturally took evasive action when they saw me and jumped up on the low brick wall to escape. Unfortunately, the dozen or so babies could not make the jump. They sort of reminded me of small bits of pop corn in the popper each one jumping but not making the transition from terra firma to the top of the wall.

Finally, one by one they discovered that they could run around the wall. And, then they were gone hiding safely in the brush near the dog run.

Today I spied the happy family running across the lawn. Like waves following waves from the ocean onto the shore the covey flowed across the lawn and down the drive towards the barn.

I wish I had had the better lens on the camera. I think I can count about 14 babies.

That was a great story, one that you had told me about earlier. You know that quail, like ducks, mate for life. It's so refreshing to see the happy family scurrying around the yard ... Mom, Pop and babies.
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