A Searchin’ the Quail


This is a little park near the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

I thought I could feel the quail here. But I neither saw nor heard them (nor smelt them…nor touched, nor tasted them).

Vancouver Island has California quail. As does San Juan Island, and parts North, East, South of Seattle–of where I sit at this one particular moment.

And why, you as, am I wasting energy telling you this? (Why indeed, when I should be reading the books I just picked up on Animal Social Networks and Animal Social Behavior and actually I cannot wait to read them but I feel compelled to write this…)

And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.

The little house sparrow is not a quail–but sometimes it may delight me in the same manner. Alive as it is in the middle of the city.

“Quails are coming down the ventilator”, said the second assistant

“Then cover them gently with a cloth”

I decided not to apply for an NSF grant this summer. I am, currently, not allowed to serve as a PI and so, therefore, have decided to try for a different situation so that I may be PI. This will allow me to spend many years submitting grants which will be rejected until I complete and publish the research and then, perhaps I will get a grant to do the research.
This is how it is done.

In August, we will go south again and I will try little radio transmitters on my quail. And next year, we may, just may get a dog, and wouldn’t it be nice if that dog could also help me track quail nests. But that may be too much to ask one little perro, for we need it to withstand the onslaught of children and the scratchiness of cats…and not eat the chickens. Poor little doggy, and we haven’t even adopted it yet.

As for the quails there was no question at all.

I will be, however, striking out about the local region for quail populations dense enough to make my research a mite less frustrating. This is, sadly, not the case right in the city, where populations exists but not in great numbers and I fear working with them might drive me mad.

dropping on deck in their hundreds

And Vancouver Island may host just one such population. And San Juan, and perhaps Orcas (and I hope I am not letting the promise of sea air cloud my judgement).

“Come….The birds will come to no harm at present.”

And if you have any thoughts on the quail round here, or elsewhere, let me know.


Quotes are from Exodus and Patrick O’Brian



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