Don’t Eat the Quails!

Just look at this male California quail (Callipepla californica). How anyone can shoot and eat this beautiful little bird is beyond me. It’s our state bird and is found throughout.  They’re ground feeders, for the most part, and run in coveys of 12-14 birds, sometimes in multiple coveys. They’re sociable among themselves but very shy around people and other animals. The male is the guardian and perches atop a fence post or roof edge to insure the safety of his mate and their brood while they feed. When they think it’s safe, they spread out across the field or lawn looking for tiny seeds and insects. But if startled, they’ll flush and take a short flight for cover, loudly flapping their wings in a synchronous flutter. Sometimes 4-6 of them will fly up to a bird feeder and scratch through the cracked corn and birdseed. Right now, they’re running around in pairs. They nest in protected shrubby areas, scraping a depression in the ground and lining it with other vegetation. The hens lay a dozen or more eggs and sometimes two clutches a year. It is always a thrill to see mom and dad with their young in the spring walking about, scratching in the dirt, and then scattering in all directions if they hear a strange sound. Somehow they all reconvene and continue with their wandering. Before we lived here, we had no quail; they hadn’t entered my consciousness. One time at a restaurant I ordered quail a entrée. There were actually four of them on my plate facing north, east, south and west, designer-style. Pathetic little birds with bones so tiny and barely anything on them. There was no way to cut the meat off; one just had to pick up the parts and practically suck the little morsel from the bone–not in the least satisfying. Then we moved to our current home where there are quail everywhere, beautiful little birds, toodling around with their chicks, calling and pipping and burbling. There is no way I would ever again consider eating a quail. They are too precious; they hurt nothing. Quail hunting? What a ridiculous sport.


About writersandy

Writer, Gardener, Crafter
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2 Responses to Don’t Eat the Quails!

  1. We have loads of quail out here. There’s a family with about 10 babies drifting around under bushes and on the lawn when there are no threats. Daddy quail perches on the nearest bush to keep watch while the babies lunch. They’re hard to see at this point. Their only about the size of a tablespoon. Sooo cute!

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