[birding] Mountain Quail at E.E. Wilson

Joel Geier jgeier at attglobal.net
Sun Oct 1 17:46:51 PDT 2006

Hello all,

Sorry, no live Mountain Quail to report. However, Martha (age 8) and I 
took Heidi (age semi-puppy) up Coffin Butte today and Martha spotted a 
feather along the trail which appeared to be a flank feather from a 
Mountain Quail (in the area where the barring shows). So they must be up 
there yet.

We also saw a few more feathers that appeared to come from Mountain 
Quail, and I saw a spent shotgun wad along the trail. So far as I'm 
aware, the season for Mountain Quail is closed in most of Oregon so I'll 
need to talk to ODFW about possible poaching.

We didn't bird very intensively but Martha had some very nice looks at 
an OREGON JUNCO coming down to water while using me for a blind (I was 
sitting very still with my back to the water guzzler). Nice to know I'm 
useful for something.

After that, Martha wanted to visit the gamebird display pens so we went 
by there and were surprised to see they now have some Mountain Quail in 
the pen.

I was thinking, it might be useful for anyone who's looking for Mountain 
Quail in the wild, to go by the display pens and listen to the calls 
they make. In my experience, calls are the easiest way of finding and 
distinguishing them from California Quail. Often you'll hear a covey 
"talking" to each other even though you won't see them, and even if you 
flush them, you don't always see the field marks. California Quail make 
clicky sounds where Mountain Quail make more of a musical murmuring.

According to the sign on the pen, these birds were donated for the 
display pens by someone from around Otis (home of a great cafe along Hwy 
22 where they bake their own rye bread). I would guess that if the quail 
produce fertile eggs in the spring, the young will be released locally.

Happy birding,

Joel Geier
jgeier at attglobal.net

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