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You remember those jokes, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” The jokes assumed that a chicken actually had a reason for crossing a road. California quail don’t. When a car comes, they scuttle across, then decide they preferred other side, and reverse direction just as the car reaches them.
In the muted light of dawn or dusk, they sometimes move in such numbers that it feels as if the earth itself is moving.
They land on my bird feeder the same way they travel on the ground -- en masse. They shoulder each other off the platform. They climb over each other. They can empty the feeder in a day. Last winter, I put out an estimated 300 pounds of sunflower seeds. Quail got most of it.
This year, I decided to outsmart them. I made a wire cage to cover the feeder. Its mesh had holes big enough for chickadees and finches, but too small -- I thought -- for bulkier quail.
I was wrong.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: communication, imitation