Laura Valaas


The beautiful quail babies have grown up and flown the nest. Er, flown the coop?

We released them (legally) into our backyard gully and watched them rise as a flock and, stretching their wings for the first time as they discovered they could fly, beat their way gracefully through the clear blue sky and into a new life of freedom.

Just kidding, there was no soundtrack and it happened nothing like that. They were living on the porch in their chicken/rabbit house and replenished their food and water, opened their door(s) and went back to doing my thing figuring they would meander away and have an entire day to figure out the wild before nighttime. I check back in an hour. No one has left. So my C.A. joins in the cause and attempts to usher them out of the cage. One startles into a short flight into the yard. Success! The next couple are herded out of the cage and immediately try to find their way back in. We are talking straining their necks through the wires like maybe they’ll pop through. So we had a rotating cast of quail as we tried to get them out and they tried to get back in. Another one flies out. Success! Only he flies straight into the wall of the house and does a vertical flight against the wall up to the eaves before a hilariously clumsy tumble back to the porch. Eventually, we get them all out and they stand around dazed in the yard in groups of 2-4. They’re on their own but I go around and pour out the remainder of their game bird food pellets in piles around the edge of the yard. Not like we have any other use for it.

The quail have regrouped since then and seem to be happy and healthy! They’ve been back through a couple of times to eat the wild bird seed I set out. And yes we can tell which birds were ours because 1) none of the wild birids are the same age and 2) I think they’re actually a different species than the local quail. oops.

So… no quail were eaten in the experiment (at least not by us) and I finally got to raise little baby quail chicks, which I have to admit that I’ve always wanted to do.

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