At Midnight—Let the Owl select
His favorite Refrain.
Yesterday morning, by owl-light, heard and saw two great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) duetting. I watched them for a little while–when each called, he/she bent forward and flared his/her tail feathers. These are big beautiful birds–when owls fly they are almost silent. I felt as if I’d, for a moment, had access to a window on something that, by rights, was to remain invisible.
I have finally succeeded in trapping the quail. It was more difficult that it has been in the last several years– perhaps it is the inundation of juvenile California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi).
Or perhaps not.
They are convenient to blame because they are all over the place and they get into the quail traps and, I suspect, none of the quail want to follow them in.
My plan with the live trap is that the squirrels get stuck and at least some of them are no longer able to go into the quail traps. This and the peanuts I’ve left out are two of my strategies to increase the likelihood that quail will enter the traps.
A third is to make additional traps and set them out. I’ve made three so far and have caught quail, desert cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus audubonii), squirrels and mourning doves in them (Zenaida macroura).
Since Tuesday I’ve caught a total of seven individual quail. One of these, Mr. R/S Pc/G, has shown up trapped three times since Tuesday. Once he was with a female, Ms. P/S G/R. If I see them in foraging together during observations it will reinforce the implication that they are pair bonded in some way. She currently has a clear brood patch which means she is possibly incubating. He had evidence of moult and regrowth in flanks where the brood patch occurs.
This afternoon I trapped from 3-8 pm and caught no quail. I will blame it on the moon and will be out at the traps tomorrow at 5 am to try my luck with the Callipepla.
Quotes are by Emily Dickinson and Dylan Thomas