by cheri sabraw
As March approaches, each adult Gambel‘s quail begins the vital hunt for the precise mate. Not any quail will suffice.
As you can see, a physical inspection takes place clandestinely when the female has taken her eyes off her prospective suitor. In this case, he appears to fancy what he sees. Not only is she plump in the all the right places, but her work ethic merits note.
Part of the date is a meal out. Do they enjoy the same bit of insect or vegetation (or cracker)? They peck at the patio for tidbits. He lowers his coppery head to doff his topknot and she uses that moment to to inspect his nails in a furtive glance. How her potential mate attends to his hygiene is crucial and judging from his pewter feathers–arranged in magnificent order–this guy might be the one.
And then, well, the chatter extends to their individuality. Although a profile reveals a matching symmetry, she makes it clear that each must be his or her own quail. No unhealthy clinging, meddling, or bickering will be tolerated in this relationship. Communication ( Chi-ca-go! Chi-ca-go!) is a must and intimacy in the nest desired.
And just when the deal is about to be consummated, a gorgeous pheasant pair, albeit quiet and snobby, appear by a copper pot to sideline his thoughts. Who are these people?