Daily Smart Fact

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Daily Smart Fact #2: The California State Bird is the “California Quail”

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I recently moved in to a house at the top of a very large hill that looks over a preserve.  In my backyard I can find tons of wildlife including little bunny rabbits, deer, and beautiful birds.  In fact, since I have moved, I’ve become quite a bird enthusiast which just makes me feel a bit old.  But I’m embracing my new found interest of birds with this Daily Smart Fact.

I’m ashamed to admit that I only recently learned that the California State bird is the “California Quail.”  A friend mentioned it to me in passing when I told her that there were tons of quail behind our house with funky king-like feather caps on top of their heads.  They also  wake me up every morning with their loud calls.

They scurry around every morning pecking at the ground, eating closely with their brown bunny brethren.  And thanks to this blog, I have been inspired to learn a little more about them.

Here are some “cool facts” (courtesy of: All About Birds):

  • The California Quail digests vegetation with the help of protozoans in its intestine. Chicks acquire the protozoans by pecking at the feces of adults.
  • Several California Quail broods may mix after hatching, and all the parents care for the young. Adults that raise young this way tend to live longer than adults that do not.
  • Pairs of California Quail call antiphonally, meaning that the male and female alternate calls, fit them into a tightly orchestrated pattern.
  • The California Quail’s head plume, or topknot, looks like a single feather, but it is actually a cluster of six overlapping feathers.
  • As an adaptation to living in arid environments, California Quails can often get by without water, acquiring their moisture from insects and succulent vegetation. During periods of sustained heat they must find drinking water to survive.
  • The California Quail is California’s state bird and has had roles in several Walt Disney movies, including “Bambi.”
  • California Quail nests can contain as many as 28 eggs. These large clutches may be the result of females laying eggs in nests other than their own, a behavior known as “egg-dumping.”
  • California Quail are pretty as well as popular with game hunters. They’ve been introduced to many other parts of the world, including Hawaii, Europe, and New Zealand.
  • The oldest known California Quail was 6 years 11 months old.

Written by Bea

May 13, 2011 at 9:51 am

Posted in Birds

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