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backyard tragedy, or the bark heard round the yard, or gambels massacre!
I have a sad tale to tell. Last night we went out for Thai, and when we came home Petey (our mixed terrier mutt) was quite excited...we figured he'd been barking at something outside the wall, as he commonly does.
However this morning, I noticed a couple Gambels Quail continually atop our block wall. And while watering the garden, Petey was nosing around under a shrub as if on the hunt. The mama Quail just above him on the wall would not leave. uh oh. I put Petey in the house and sealed his doggie door. Hunted around the shrubs hoping to spot a chick who couldn't get over the wall to rejoin his family. Nothing. Eventually I gave up, then was tending the pool, when I found a tiny quail chick near the leaf catcher... I cried. Figured Petey chased it into the pool where it drowned. But I knew this chick was not very old, too small to have come into the yard, had to have been born here.
So, I started looking again and found 7 more dead babies all in the pool pump enclosure, and a small ground indentation in the corner behind the motor and filter, their ground nest. A full blown nature massacre. I was heart broken and declared our once beloved pet, an evil monster.
I cleaned up the remains, and noticed the parent quails still scurrying atop the wall and calling out warningly... could any of these tiny babies have survived? What a large clutch, this must have been. There was no way for them out of our yard at this tiny size, since the drain holes were full of rocks! Dear hubby and I opened up several of them, on the chance that the parents were trying to move any remaining chicks to a safer place.
Lo and behold 2 had managed to escape the slaughter! This picture is of one. He is no more than 2 inches tall, the other one scurried under the wall before I could get its photo. It was a paler, lighter colored baby, probably a female. I'm glad a couple made it, am still mad at the dog and wonder why the parents dared nest in a yard that has a dog notorious for chasing the birds in it! A few more shots in my comments. Mama scurried them to the wash behind our yard, I hope they are safe now.
A tropical bird perches within the rainforest exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Natural sunlight filters down through portholes in the vegetation-covered domed roof of this fascinating structure designed by architect Renzo Piano.
The enclosure includes a bottom level walkway beneath a pool, allowing visitors a fishes-eye view of the canopy of green leaves and sunlight above. Birds and butterflies fly freely about you as you ascend a 4-story spiral walkway.
If you are in the San Francisco area, this is worth a visit.
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