Beautiful Hunter and Prey

23 Dec

Quail were crossing the neighbor’s driveway into my yard as I pulled into the driveway and into my garage.  I knew those puffed up (from the cold) little bodies were on their way to my backyard where they would enjoy their daily repast along with other feathered friends.  I hurried into the house and to my kitchen window because I like to look down and watch them scurry by the house.  They are so cute with their little feet churning as fast as they can.  It seems to me that quail seldom walk.  BUT, they never came by the window.  I decided something must have scared them and they were hiding under a juniper in the front yard.  

This handsome Cooper’s Hawk was the culprit. He was sitting on the fence about 15 feet from my kitchen window. Quail are one of his favorite meals and I’ll bet he was very hungry because hunting has been difficult with it being so cold.
He became frustrated with me taking his portrait and flew to this pine tree also in my front yard. The quail generally pass right under where he was sitting. He perched there for quite a while until his patience waned.
Hours later, I finally glimpsed the quail emerging from their hiding places and zooming toward the side of the house. I went to the kitchen window to see if they would stop for a bite of seed that I had put down about 6 am that day. As you can see, they did stop for a minute or two. Twelve total stopped for a bite and then hurried on to the backyard area. If you count, you won’t see 12 birds because they might feed together but they don’t scurry together. It is generally a single file type of procession. Perhaps it is a survival technique.
This photo was not taken the day of seeing the Cooper’s Hawk, but a few days earlier when there was more snow. You get the general idea, though. The quail like to arrive from the sage brush beyond the fence you can see in the back and also from a neighbor’s house that has a juniper hedge and also a huge blue spruce that is ideal for hiding. There have been days when I have counted more than 50 feeding at the same time. There are so many that it looks as if the ground is roiling with them in constant motion. These little dramas are another reason why I love living here in Nevada. They give me joy.

2 Responses to “Beautiful Hunter and Prey”

  1. Barb December 23, 2022 at 5:42 pm #

    Oh oh oh! These pix are adorable!!!! The hawk….so awesome!! And those quail…….sooooooo cute!!!

  2. Schildmeier December 24, 2022 at 4:18 am #

    You give me so much joy, Cora, by sharing your observations. Nevada IS beautiful, but it always takes someone to see the beauty and capture it. Have a blessed Christmas! Hugs, Angel


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