I miss the little boy quail


My Laurelhurst friend has vanished.

The little male quail that I kept encountering in strange places on my run no longer cow calls from rooftops down by the water.

This is, in general, what it means to be a quail biologist.  Quail are nonterritorial.  Their ties to any one locale are not dictated by the need to maintain a piece of land but rather are driven by the pull of other quail and the density of resources.  This little quail was alone in this region, as far as I knew, and, unless there were two males, had moved a quarter mile in a week that I’d seen him.  He was soliciting but receiving, likely, no replies and perhaps kept moving trying to figure out where all the other birds were.

Or perhaps he was killed.

Of course, I am assuming there is not a larger silent population in the area.  It is possible that several other birds, paired or singlets, the components of a covey, were (and are) all around me as I ran through the neighborhood.

As a scientist, I have to drop the first story and embrace the second, the one of all possibility, until it is dis-proven or until I’ve found no support for the latter but substantial support for the former.   We cannot take our own narratives as true.

Although, to some extent, we still do–we are imperfect prisms and things of the world are separated and then bent on their way into our consciousness.


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