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Gambels Quail and other birds in my backyard

Gambels Quail making their way to a feeder in my tree

I love to see the Gambels Quail running across my yard here in the Southwest. The little creatures have such a distinct marking pattern, and their little topknots perkily bobbing on their head just makes me want to smile a little.

We’ve spent a couple of weeks in our Southwestern Dream Home hideaway and my greatest joy was feeding the wild birds and watching their antics in my bird tree near my back door.

I had a large bag of seed, which I daily scattered on the ground around the big mesquite outside the back door. The birds aren’t particularly concerned that it’s so close to the house, as long as they get something to eat. If I go outside on the porch they tend to run off, but they come right back after I place some seeds on the ground.

It was an exciting trip because the number and the variety of birds that visited my feeders was astounding. In the short time we were in town, I viewed and photographed gambels quail, doves, house sparrows, roadrunners, house finches, cactus wrens, curve-billed thrashers, and more!

I haven’t purchased a bird bath for my friends, but a large rectangular glass casserole dish placed on a block served the purpose admirably. The desert is a hard place for wild things, and offering water will definitely draw a crowd. My intention in the future is to create some sort of waterfall, pond, or other inviting place for the birds to gain access to water whenever they want.

Interestingly enough, at a neighboring home I found a great idea that should work as well. The couple had taken a bag of sackcrete and created a sort of a bowl on the ground. It’s simple, easily cleaned and the perfect depth for birds.

While we were away this time, we had a family of javelinas take up residence underneath our mobile home during a period of cold weather. We ousted the intruders and had the damage to the insulation underneath the home repaired, but it was a reminder to avoid placing food outside that javelinas might like to eat. By the way, javelinas like to eat almost anything!

Gila Woodpecker at my bird feeder

Since I had previously had an experience with a javelina at the resort we stayed at last year, I knew they like the seed blocks you can buy in the stores for the gambels quail. She also managed to devour leftover steak, chops, or whatever my husband saved from our dinner. Fruit is also a favorite. As I said, anything is game for javelinas, but don’t invite them to visit your home.

So, as I was saying, I scattered lots of seeds on the ground, but avoided seed blocks. The gambels quail came in groups, and delighted me with their antics, so it was a definite thrill to watch them. One thing that was rather interesting, was watching them hop up into the tree and make their way to the hanging seed block feeder I had placed in the branches.

The tree, at times appeared to be decorated with birds of a dozen varieties, hopping, battling amongst themselves, and singing joyously. I had a hard time when it was time to tear myself away and pack for our trip to the West Coast. But we’ll be back, and when I return they’ll surely be waiting for me.

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