For this Mother's Day I wanted to go out and find a nest of chicks with possibly some feeding activity to share. Instead I think I have a better more endearing story to share.
Yesterday I hit our local neighborhood trail to set out to meet the my Mother's Day goal. It was a blazing hot 90+ degrees and a very bright sun. Not a cloud in the sky. After walking up and almost all the way back for about 45 minutes all I could hear was birds in deep shaded cover. I heard several nests excited chick chirping away. But they were just too deep in the thick bushes or trees to get any sort of shot.
Then I noticed about 20-30 yards away a female California Quail and a bunch of chicks trying to cross the dry dusty path. "Perfect" I thought to myself. Quail are extremely skittish and move very very quickly to duck back into bushes to avoid being seen. I knew I had to approach slowly and work my way around a bit to remain unnoticed. However as I approached ever so cautiously several sets of runners came through and the Quail quickly dispersed back in the cover.
I had a thought that if this family was trying to cross they may try again. So I set myself up across the dirt trail behind some small shrubs and trees. I got low and waited and waited what seemed like forever (but actually closer to 5 minutes).
Then a male Quail popped up on top of the bushes across from me! This must be the father. I watched him as he sat as a sentry looking out for the safety for his family. To my surprise he remained on top of the bush as several sets of people went by in about a span of 10 minutes.
Then he jumped back down into the shaded thick bush, to be unseen. I sat waiting patiently a few more minutes the I saw movement. Mom emerged first then followed by her clutch of chicks.
They pecked at the ground for a couple
minutes then mom perked up straight and all the chicks kind stopped and looked at her. It reminded me of a teacher getting a class ready and lined up to head out for recess.
Then they started making their way across again. A person on a bike came through and the whole lot of them burst into the air and headed straight across the path into the cover on the side they had been trying to get too, successfully.
This little family story is dedicated to all the moms out in the world. But particularly one very special one, my wife. Whom I do my very best to provide and keep safe for our family just as the papa Quail did.