- Author: Kathy Low
One of the wonderful things about yards and gardens is that you never know what wildlife may pay a visit. Although occasionally there are unwanted visitors like rattlesnakes and possums, for the most part you'll enjoy welcome visitors like hummingbirds. Lately a number of California quail (Callipepla californica) have been regularly visiting my backyard.
Designated the official state bird in 1931, the California quail, also known as the California valley quail, it has a black plume on its head and black throat, plus a scaled belly. They forage in the ground for seeds and grains. They also eat plant leaves, some berries and insects.
California quail can usually be found in coastal scrub, woodland areas, areas with chaparral, farms, and parks. They're fairly tolerant of people but when frightened will scurry away or take short flight to safe cover.
Flocks of California quail, known as coveys, ranging from a few birds to over 100, can be found year round in the state. The birds nest in hollowed areas scratched into the ground hidden by foliage. The females lay their eggs in the hollow.
They're very vocal birds. They make a bird call that sounds like chi-ca-go. But if you're like me and like the quiet, hearing bird noises can be very annoying. I love seeing wildlife in my yard and garden, providing they're silent!