Winter Views of California Quail in Northern Utah

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Male California Quail running in snowMale California Quail running in snow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I was able to photograph several California Quail in snow yesterday in Davis County, Utah and I was also able to listen to at least one male calling.

I wanted to share this recording for your listening pleasure while reading this post, other birds that can be heard in the background are Dark-eyed Junco, Mourning Dove, California Scrub Jay and Wrentit.

There was more snow on the ground in Davis County than here at home in Salt Lake County and I was happy to see it. The birds sure stood out well from the white of the snow plus I also liked the autumn colors of the shrubbery in the background.

This male scooted by pretty fast and I was only able to get a couple dozen images of him. I love the feathered top knots these birds have.

Pair of California Quail femalesPair of California Quail females – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The feathered top knots of the females are a bit smaller than those of the males and the females don’t have the striking bold white stripes on their faces but I appreciate the scaled feathers on their breasts, their more subdued coloration and the tiny polka dot patterns on their necks.

I wish I could have gotten both the birds in this frame as sharply in focus as the bird in the foreground but they were fairly close to me and I needed more depth of field than I had with the settings I was using.

Female California Quail standing in snowFemale California Quail standing in snow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This female was very cooperative and stood out in the open on the snow for a bit as the other quail moved out of my view.

In the summer when I have my windows at home open for fresh air I can hear the calls and songs of the California Quail as they court and raise their young. I love hearing them even in the city. I should photograph them at home more often than I do.

Winter California Quail femaleWinter California Quail female – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It was very nice to spend just a small amount of time with these California Quail yesterday listening to them, observing and photographing them as they went about the business of being birds.

Life is good.



  1. hummingbird lover December 11, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Hi! Love the photo’s and the Bird calls! Great shooting! Love mom

  2. Utahbooklover December 8, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Beautiful images! Enjoyed the four minutes of call and response too. Thanks!

  3. Ken Schneider December 7, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Our Gambel’s Quail in New Mexico did not have the exquisite scaling as shown on the California Quail. Beautiful images, and no need to apologize for the focus on the second bird. I’m not sure i can see a significant difference at this resolution.

  4. Ken Schneider December 7, 2017 at 8:12 am

    You obtained some splendid views of these beautiful birds!

  5. Elephants Child December 6, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Those tiny little dots look like spangles to me.
    All the plumage is incredible.
    Thank you. And I am always grateful to hear the calls too.

  6. Patty Chadwick December 6, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Beautiful images of these pretty little birds…love their colors and the detail….

  7. Liz Cormack December 6, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Oh, wow!

Comments are closed.