The chicks are gone!
As I was eating breakfast this morning (K and T weren't awake yet) I looked up and saw Papa and Mama Quail on the patio alone. They had never come without the chicks before. Where are your babies? I wanted to ask Mama. From 10-11 to eight to six and then yesterday, four chicks. Now they're all gone? We've had a lot of rain lately, did they somehow drown? Repeat earlier remarks about cats. However do wild animals survive to adulthood? I felt so mournful. Mama and Papa were silent, they didn't cluck to each other the way they did when they were with the babies. And they didn't seem upset, but they usually don't even as the number of their chicks keep diminishing. Are they not able to count or do they have no choice but to keep moving on in life?
We were gone all morning and when we came back there was the happy sight of the whole family. Mama, Papa and five chicks. One must have been hiding yesterday. Perhaps this morning Papa and Mama were simply out on a date while the kids slept. I was so glad to see them I took some pictures.
The chicks are growing. They are beginning to have the humped back of their parents, they have speckled, stripey feathers growing in, and they even do a tiny bit of flying from time to time. They are so fun to watch as they search for seeds. When the parents head off, it seems that one is often left behind before he realizes everyone has gone. He rears up, little head stretching to see where they are going and chases after, his tiny legs a blur of motion and bitty wings flapping.
And as a bonus, here is a picture of one our cheery goldfinches and a sparrow friend munching: