Chapter 1

The Rose and the Birds

Page 9

 

  By the next year Rose had them so tame that she would open their cage in the house and walk down the stairs and open the front door and all five birds would follow her out the door and on to the garden with the line of five quail following her. 

  The garden was about 100 foot from the house and one day I was working in the garage with the garage door up and Rose walked up into the garage and she said she wanted to see what they would do when they noticed she was missing. We watched and could see one or two at a time working on bugs and after about five minutes we seen a couple of very long necks sticking up looking around and making their gathering call.

   A quail that normally stands about 4 to 5 inches tall can stretch up to about 8 or 9 inches tall when trying to look around. We could see that they had gathered into a group and they all took off flying up to the open garage. We had never seen them fly before other than in short hops of 5 foot or so. They stayed flying in a tight group and not higher than 6 foot or so. The garage floor was smooth and they all flew all the way into the garage.

  I didnít have a car in the garage and when they landed they were going very fast. It reminded me of seaplanes landing as they slid very clumsy across the floor with wings still extended. None seemed to be the worst for ware and quickly went exploring all through the garage to our dismay. Rose and I had to work at gathering them up as several found spiders under all my junk in the garage. We got them all gathered up and in their cage but they were a mess with spider webs all over them and dust and dirt from my garage floor that I had not swept in a while.

  Rose must have spent an hour cleaning them one by one with a cloth. They also spent the rest of the day fixing feathers as they do.

  Some times in the late evening Rose would let them out in the living room as we watched TV.

Quail sleep in a circle with all of their tails together in the center. Rose would pick Miss Birds up out of the circle and set her in her lap while the other four would put their tails up against Roseís feet. Even if she didnít pick Miss Birds up they would settle down in a half round circle with Roseís feet as part of the circle. They fully accepted her as one of them.

  You know how a dog can tell when itís owner is coming home. Well, we found out a quail can do that too. It was not that Rose had gone and came back, but we found out from Miss Birds and Igg. Miss Birds did not like Igg and displayed this by standing all of her feathers straight out and making a noise like she was sneezing. And if Igg tried to pick her up she would run from him. Miss Birds could recognize Iggís car coming up the drive. We noted that when other cars came up the drive she didnít do this, only when Igg came in. If the birds were out of their cage when Igg came in Robin would run up to him every time. Sher was accepted by all five as one of them. She could approach them as well as Rose to gather them up and put them in their cage. I could gather them up but not quite as easily as Rose and Sher could.

  One day when they were about three years old and were in the garden, Red went to calling a mate and sure enough here come a Bob White. We are not sure if it was the one she called up before or the one we captured but she flew off with this one. We never seen her again. We like to think she mated and raised a family.

  The other four stayed with us for over 5 years. In the 6th year one by one they died. The last one to go was Big Bird. She seemed to be getting close to dying so I called several animal doctors and found one that worked a lot with birds and took her to him. He had never worked on a quail and was surprised to hear of how good a pet they can be. He was able to handle her as well as we were and he was surprised how tame she was. He found that she was egg bound, meaning she was getting old and even though she was trying to lay eggs, she could no longer pass them. He fixed  her up by getting the egg out but he said it would happen again and he didnít know how long she would last. She lived almost another year.

  You might think this is the end of the story of ďThe Rose & the BirdsĒ but it is just the beginning. Even though we didnít get any more quail to raise, it was the start of another adventure with birds.  


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