From SVBC executive officer Lydia Vogt.
We are finally getting into some chilly weather here in Southern California,
and even a bit of rain- a lovely respite from our ongoing drought, but very
modest compared to the torrents those of you in Costa Rica are
experiencing this month. One of my favorite resident birds doesn’t seem
to mind the rain at all- the California Quail. Our resident covey seems to
have had a mast year, and Big Daddy now is supervising over 20 females
and juveniles, as they dart from shadow to shadow, running along the
ground as if they were rolling on a tiny wheel. Their behavior is unique and
as identifiable as the male’s adorable black topknot.
But the young, as in many species (including our own,) are impatient and
brash, and yesterday a beautiful young fellow, frightened by something
unknown, flew from across the driveway at warp speed and hit a sliding
glass door on my patio. Even though the screen door was in front of it, it
was a fatal strike. He was just too impulsive. I picked up the warm, limp
body, and he briefly struggled, then collapsed in my grasp, sending an
explosion of lovely, soft, breast feathers all over. His head lolled, the tiny,
hooked beak opening a closing a few times, then grew still. A little later as
darkness fell, the Chief called to his group from an unseen low perch. It’s
a wonderful, unique 3-syllable call, chi-CA-go, very high-pitched on the
2nd syllable, and is used to call the family together. Sadly, although he
made numerous calls, tonight there was one family member absent.
To hear the iconic call, follow the link below, click the green ‘Listen’ button, then select the 2nd option.