The California Quail is a highly sociable bird and one of the daily
communal activities is the taking of dust baths. A family of quail will
select an area where the ground has been newly turned or is soft, and using
their underbellies, will burrow downward into the soil some 1-2 inches.
They then wriggle about in the indentations they have created, flapping
their wings and ruffling their feathers, causing dust to rise in the air.
They seem to prefer sunny places in which to create these dust baths, and
an ornithologist is able to detect the presence of quail
in an area by spotting the circular indentations left behind in the soft
dirt, some 3-6" in diameter.
One of the male Quails is designated as the family guard. He perches
atop a fence post, tree branch, or even a telephone pole to keep a close watch on
his clan, emitting a variety of calls to inform them of approaching dangers, or to
keep in verbal contact with other Quails. Quails are members of the pheasant family.
We have noted that male quails are also often designated baby sitters, and several
'uncles' may be seen guarding baby quails on their walks. Baby Quails are able to fly
just a few days after hatching, and this is vital. Because the California Quail is
not the best flier - but rather spends much of its time on the ground, it is essential
that it be able to fly up quickly away from danger.
These clever, sensitive and beautiful birds are excellent spouses and parents. We
would like to add that we at American Bird Guide deplore the practice of viewing
Quails as a food source. They belong in the wild, living in their productive family
groups. Quail ornaments, quail flags, quail stamps, plush quails, and quail gifts
all celebrate the special charm of this beloved bird. Your local wild bird supply
store should be able to offer you quail seed, as well.
For more information and a photo of the California Quail, please visit the following