There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

California Quail

Callipepla californica

Plump, ground-dwelling bird
Short tail
Round wings
Small head
Curved, forward-tilting topknot

  • Black face with white border
  • Dark brown cap
  • Pale buff forehead
  • Blackish nape stippled with white spotting
  • Dark blue-gray chest
  • Brown back and upperwings
  • Buff belly with darker scaly markings and chestnut center
  • Brown flanks with white streaks
Female: (not photographed)
  • Grayish-brown head, chest, back and upperwings 
  • Chestnut flanks with white streaks
  • Pale belly with darker scaly markings

Listen to its call.

As we were driving down Charlton Road today on our way to Hastings Flats, two of these birds crossed in front of our car before ducking under a decorative hedge.

I love the head plumes on these birds - they looks so regal - but did you know that what actually looks like a single feather is really a group of six feathers? Just another little bit of trivia for you.

Learn more about the California Quail.

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