To find new things, take a path you took yesterday.
-- John Burroughs, American naturalist
Dear Gary: We live in a somewhat rural area in north Morgan Hill and our property borders open space (hilly) that hosts many of California's natural species including golden eagles (nest included), bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, snakes, lizards, deer, many types of birds. (I am sure that there are many more not mentioned).
I'm writing to you in hope that you will provide guidance regarding the discovery of a quail nest.
When I watered a rather large pot containing rosemary and parsley, I frightened a female quail. I discovered a nest containing approximately 10-12 eggs.
I am concerned as to how we should proceed to ensure their welfare. I should add that this pot is next to our back kitchen door that is used frequently. Also, our backyard area is landscaped naturally (but also fenced) and appears to be a natural habitat for quail as we have enjoyed their antics for quite some time.
Dear Julie: Quail eggs take from 18-23 days to hatch. I'm guessing they are close to hatching because there are lots of baby quail skittering around the Bay Area right now. Once they hatch, the chicks are immediately up and running, following mom and dad wherever they go.
Since your backyard is a natural habitat for quail, once they hatch you can enjoy them as they enjoy your yard.
Dear Gary: We moved here a few years ago and noticed a number of blackbirds that had a deformed foot. This year we noticed finches with a deformed eye. Do you know what the problem is?
Dear Jane: It's normal for small birds to bang up their feet making hard landings. Since blackbirds are usually in a flock, it's easier to notice it.
The finch eye problem may be avian pox, a viral bird disease that's kind of like chickenpox in humans.
All common problems.
You're very observant.
Contact Gary Bogue at email@example.com; or write Gary, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.