What You Can See on Easter
Submitted by Ted Williams on Sat, 04/15/2006 - 14:02.
From Audubon’s Earth Almanac by Ted Williams and compiled in “Wild Moments,” edited by Connie Isbell, Illustrations by John Burgoyne, Storey Publishing, 174 pages. Whistler’s Father If you live in the eastern two-thirds of the nation and south of the northern tier, don’t miss the predawn concert of the male bobwhite quail. It starts in brushy grasslands or in the understory of open woods with the first red wash on the eastern sky—a whistling so loud and clear that obedient dogs have responded to it: “White. Bob White.” Unlike most gallinaceous birds, the male helps with nest building, incubating eggs, and rearing young. The great ornithologist Arthur Cleveland Bent recalled how a bobwhite performed a variant rendition of the “broken-wing act” by flying at him and, with a shrill whistle, collapsing at his feet as if it were dead: “I stooped and put my hand upon his extended wings and could easily have caught him. The young birds, at the cry of the parent, flew in all directions; and their devoted father soon followed them, and began calling them in a low cluck, like the cry of a brown thrasher.” For protection, quail will arrange themselves in a circle, facing outward like musk oxen, but instead of attacking approaching predators, they’ll flush together in an explosion of wings. Also turn up your volume and click on: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPb0po2jzfg