The California Quail
The California Quail is a handsome, very rotund bird with a rich bluish grey breast, intricately scaled underfeathers and a forward-drooping head plume adding to its regal pomp. It is a highly sociable bird that gathers in small flocks known as “coveys” and its sharp Chi-ca-go call is a common sound on the farm. Often seen scratching at the ground in large groups or sprinting forward on blurred legs, California Quail are common but unobtrusive. If startled, these birds explode into short rapid flight, called “flushing”, but when given a choice, they will normally make their escape on foot!
The California Quail are year-round residents of the farm. They often are seen foraging on the ground scratching at the soil. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and leaves but they also eat insects and the wild blackberries growing on the periphery of the vineyard. Their nest is a shallow scrape lined with vegetation often located under blackberry bushes. The female usually lays approximately twelve eggs. Once they are hatched, families form coveys which have at least two females, multiple males and many offspring. In good years, females will lay more than one clutch and all are welcome additions to life on the farm.