Monday, July 28, 2014

Pennsylvania Wildlife: Quail

She talked with her own special sound every time we walked in the door and learned to mimic Cuddles, the cat. Having a quail in the house has become a dear and precious memory.

Melissa, our quail, became a house pet after we had released two batches of hatched and grown-to- maturity quail. The man who gave us the eggs to incubate recommended that we just get rid of the lame quail. We couldn't do that. 

In the morning, Melissa had a special sound to greet the first one up. She cooed when she was contented and scolded when she was displeased. The worse verbal reprimand we received was when we returned from a week-long vacation. One of our friends had fed her every day, but Melissa still had to tell us what she thought about our absence.

Our quail, like those in the wild, liked to take mud baths. Suzanne, our daughter, provided Melissa with a box half filled with dirt. Melissa moved the dirt around by flapping her wings. Then she would throw dirt all over herself. She ended her session by using her beak to clean and oil her feathers.

When Suzanne was working on schoolwork, she let Melissa flutter around on the floor right beside her. In fact, this particular pet began to travel with us at times, to family reunions where all the children got to hold her and to grandparents’ houses just because Suzanne wanted to take her. Actually, I found the quail less trouble than our cats or what a dog would have entailed.

Melissa even became a model. Suzanne, our photographer, arranged many scenes with props. One of them included a miniature hay bale, pumpkins, and mums. Suzanne placed Melissa in the center and took her picture.

We found a book called That Quail, Robert by Margaret A. Stanger.  Robert also lived with his family and seemed amazingly smart. Robert perched on their table and ate with his family at meal time. He liked the color red and played “Chase Me.” We learned that quail are fairly popular pets.


Having a pet like Melissa gave our daughter something to love which       loved her back and helped make our daughter a more responsible 
person.  The rest of us enjoyed Melissa, too!

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