Even though I see California Quail quite often at home I don’t have many photos of them in my portfolio. Whenever it is warm enough to have my windows open at home I can usually hear the California Quail in my neighborhood calling as they court and raise their young.
California Quail hen perched in a tree – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Two days ago I found two California Quail hens perched low in a tree in Davis County, Utah and I was delighted that one of them was out in the open in nice light. I was almost too close to the quail in a “mobile blind” (a vehicle parked at the edge of the road) and there were more than a few times that I clipped the bottom of her toes off while photographing her. I should have removed my teleconverter but didn’t think about that while I was photographing these birds plus I didn’t know if they would stick around very long.
Later on in the morning I found a male California Quail in the same location but he was perched on a fence and the background was a mess so I won’t be keeping my photos of him. I’m quite satisfied with the photos I took of this hen.
Life is good.
California Quail facts and information:
- California Quail are small, round upland game birds with forward drooping black to brown head plumes, gray breasts and intricately scaled underparts. Their flanks are brown with white streaks, they have black bills and eyes and gray legs. Female California Quail lack the dark central path on their bellies.
- California Quail are nonmigratory. Originally their range was from southern Oregon to Baja California, they have been introduced to the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Arizona and now thrive in those locations.
- Preferred habitats for California Quail include live oak canyons, deserts, foothills and suburbs.
- California Quail eat seeds, fruits, berries, leaves, flowers, grasses, grains and insects.
- California Quail lay 12 to 16 eggs which hatch in 18 to 23 days. The female incubates and they are monogamous. Both parents rear the young.
- A group of quail can be called a “drift”, “flush”, “rout”, “battery” and “shake” of quails.
- California Quail can live to be more than six years old.