After a couple of hours I was able to modify the general population cage with some left over 1/2" mesh hardware cloth so as to be able to confine the second batch of 25 birds. I was also able to recover six of the escapees in the tall grass near the cages and add them to the overall total - Not too bad an ending of an otherwise screwed up afternoon.
After about five or six weeks the birds became old enough for me to be able to tell which sex they were and I was able to come up with 12 pairs and transferred them to the honeymoon suites. The seven birds left over were all males so I turned them loose to fend for themselves. That very evening as the sun began to set the birds began their "covey up songs" that are always such a pleasure to listen to,
For some reason those seven birds stuck close to the area and each evening I was treated to their music. Could be that they stuck around because I had the only ladies in town. Of course the fact that I set out feed for them had no impact I'm sure. In any event they became a permanent fixture on the place. So much so - that they took to following me each day as I moved about the turf doing chores. Down to the garden area, the compost piles and even down to the campground area and the bee hives.
On more than one occasion I would, without thinking drop a rake or other tool to the ground and spook them and they would flush with their typical noisy rush and startle me as well. Anyone who has ever hunted Quail knows about that noisy flush so unique to Quail.
One evening while walking from the garden area back up to the shop with the birds trailing behind as usual, I was startled by the most Gawd-Awful screeching I had ever heard. As I turned back toward the following quail I was treated to the sight of a Big Hawk carrying off one of the fat little males over the tree line screaming all the while. I just know that the hawk was a friend of "Murphy" and he was just letting me know that he was still lurking around looking and waiting.
Needless to say, it was at least two weeks before I saw or heard any of the other males again. They probably fled clear across the county line and took those two weeks just to find their way back home. I hear you Murphy, I hear you!!! (To Be Continued)
Take Care - Belwether