It’s quail time again.
Disclaimer: I love my little quail and have even built a house of sticks for them to hide in outside my front door.
That said… sometimes they drive me to distraction and force me to get very creative in the garden.
This winter the quail would come around about every second day.
There were 15 – 23 depending on who showed up and when I saw them I would go outside with food.
They love millet so can of it in hand I would whistle to them and shake the can and they would come running at top speed with their little behinds stuck out.
Standing on the porch I would throw the seed down to them, have a chat and let them get on with their business.
Now… its spring and hormones are raging.
I see them, I go out the door with food and they all squawk and fly up into the air. A mass of wings.
I shake the can and whistle.
They scurry away like the biggest cat you’ve ever seen is hot on their tails.
There is fighting in the woodpile.
You hear mutterings and the next thing you see is a quail erupt from the sticks with another one close behind.
Now, these springtime behaviours don’t really affect me too much and it’s so interesting to watch the different behaviour patterns.
Until I go to plant the garden.
They are so quick.
Obviously they have spies that follow me around and when I head out to the garden they give all the rest of the quail a heads up.
I can see them in my peripheral vision and if I don’t think ahead they have the advantage.
Was planting seeds the other day and walked away to get the watering can.
The quail swarmed onto the garden bed and started scratch and pecking at what I had just planted.
Ran and got the netting.
One bed safe.
Another day I put in some transplants.
Just enjoying the sun and the dirt beneath my fingernails and wander off (40 ft maybe) to get another flat of plants and came back to them nibbling at the tender leaves of what I had just planted.
And up goes the netting on that bed as well.
Their very favourite is lettuce.
The younger the better.
I used to think it was slugs in the garden but nope… it was the quail.
Pretty soon it will be dust baths in the garden which I then will have to put down wire so they can’t dig everything up as they fluff and preen.
Forcing me to become creative with the supplies at hand it becomes a battle of wits.
Them doing what quails do best (eat, sleep and bathe) and me trying to maintain a garden that allows humans some of the food.
In a couple of months, the baby quails will appear following in a line behind their parents.
All is forgiven.
All is forgotten as they bring their families to the safety of my yard and I can once again open the door as they feed contently in the grass.
This is my own little piece of heaven here on earth.
My backyard… my sanctuary.