A Visit from a Covey

Scaled Quail_ChicoBasinRanch-CO_LAH_3016I have a new yard bird! Having only lived in this house since May, adding a new species to my yard list isn’t normally that big a deal. In fact, the previous entry (last week) was Eurasian Collared-dove. Big whoopee. But this new species got me so excited I went running around the house, texting all my birding friends. (Can you tell I haven’t been out birding in far too long?)

Yes, I glanced out at the feeder late one afternoon and spotted a small covey of Scaled Quail! In my yard! They were happily pecking through the shredded bark mulch looking for millet seeds that had fallen from the feeder overhead.


The Pale Quail

gambels-quail-leucistic_colonatlmon-co_lah_4179It was like a bird-shaped ghost—we couldn’t quite believe our eyes. My friend Debbie and I were birding near Grand Junction, in Colorado National Monument—a spectacular place of sheer cliffs, rock pinnacles, and copper-colored sandstone.

We had stopped for lunch, and were alternately taking bites of our sandwiches and grabbing our binoculars. Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Rock Wrens, and Gray Vireos abounded. I was surprised to see Gambel’s Quail running under the junipers; I thought of them as living a bit more to the south. I was told that the species had been introduced to Western Colorado as a game bird.