The Quail Diaries, El Segundo, 3

2 01 2009

RIP little quail

This is a picture of ROBK when I first trapped him two days ago. He was a beautiful little quail.ripquailMy son and I found his little body today next to a lemonade berry bush. He had puncture wounds above his right wing and his eyes had been eaten. Do Cooper’s hawks eat the eyes of their prey? Does anyone out there know? After checking him and saying goodbye, I carried him down into the brush a bit and left him there, somewhat visible. This is because I suspected we’d interrupted a hawk with his/her meal. When I walked down that same path 30 minutes later, the little quail body was gone. When you work with a prey species, a little food sack of an organism, you know they are killed by predators all the time. This was the first time, however, I have identified one of my birds after he/she has been killed. (Usually, of course, there is nothing left).

It is New Year’s Day and perhaps I should be thinking about omens. But making this little bird into an omen would turn this into something about me rather than something about this little bird. But this is about the male quail, who I think was less than a year old (based upon his plumage) and who is dead today. This is about what he was. It is also about who ever took him and about this other creature’s life. It is not about me, I am only happenstance.

(Besides that, on a self-absorbed human-centric note, I cannot seem to recognize the turning of the year…it isn’t a turning for me yet.)

Rest in Peace little bird.

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2 responses

4 01 2009
Jen G

I miss quail. You have no idea how much good it does to hear about your quail adventures. I especially love it when they are pissing you off and sit there (pictures) all wide-eyed and adorable. You must be in California but at your old field sites or where? Happy New Year to you and my plume-ed pals!

4 01 2009
jen

I wish you were here for a big quail bash! I am at the old field site as it is extremely easy for me, being outside the back door of my parent’s house.

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