Covey of Quail

And speaking of desert dwellers. One of my favorite species is the quail, especially in the late spring, when all the babies appear. The official term for a cluster or family of quail is a "covey of quail". Quite often you'll see one of the parents at the front of the pack, all the babies follow in single file, and the other parent is bringing up the rear. Those new little babies look like little walnut shells scurrying on tiny feet. There can be as many as 20 of those little babies in a brood. Sadly, the mortality rate is pretty high, since they are the perfect snack size for many other desert dwellers like hawks and snakes. So one day you'll count 18 babies in a covey, and a few days later the number may be down to 11.

There are so many things to love and admire about these creatures. Aside from their distinguishing top feathers and unmistakable quail-speak, they possess traits that we as humans respect and admire. These birds mate for life, and remain monogamous til death do them part. Both parents share equally in parenting duties, and they fight to the death to protect their babies.

As a fellow desert dweller, I love to kill time drinking my beverage of choice on my patio as I watch and listen to these enchanting creatures move thru their day.