Monday, March 29, 2010

Who Wants to See a California Quail?

Over the weekend, Mrs. Yollis had some unexpected backyard visitors.

The state bird of California dropped by!

One male perched on top of the fountain while the others scratched around for food.

They were difficult to spot because they blended in with their surroundings.
(Anyone recall what kind of coloration that is?)

There were four birds on the ground.

Their beautiful plumage and crest are visible in this photo Mr. Yollis took!

Here is a link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds!

(Ornithology is a fancy word for the scientific study of birds.
An ornithologist is someone who studies birds.)

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Mr. and Mrs. Yollis have never seen the state bird in the wild.

Do you know any fun facts about the California quail?

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The Smarties left a comment telling us about Western Australia's state bird, the black swan

Please share, what is your state bird?


  1. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    A group of quails is also known as coveys. Another fun fact is that the plumage of the male quail is black and the female quail is brown.

    Jollene and her Dad

  2. Dear Mrs Yollis and students,
    I never realised just how beautiful the California Quails are.How lucky were you Mrs Yollis to have them rest in your garden. As here in Australia we have Mag pies birds which are rather larger and are black and white and little sparrows and and then we have swallows which come back every year to nest.
    I found out that the quails are ground birds and have a curing crest with 6 feathers which sit on there head. They tend to enjoy dust bath in the soil.They have been introduced into Australia but I have not seen any as yet but will keep my eye out. Also they are very social birds and like to gather in groups known as coveys so on that note!!!
    Happy bird watching from one bird to another will fly for now so bye from down under AA.

  3. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Wow! You must have been surprised to see a California quail in your back yard. I know I would have been. I have never seen one in person, but I would like to. Was it scary seeing a California quail?

    I think the California quail is gray with white crumbled stripes on its back. What do you think the bird looks like?


  4. @ Jollene and her dad,

    I am so happy that the two are you are reading our blog and leaving a comment together! Yes, a group of quail is called a covey. Good for you! The male has a black crest on its head and that is how I knew the one on the fountain was a male. Thanks for a fantastic comment!

    @ AA,

    I never realized how beautiful the California quail is either! Actually, I lived in California most of my life and I have NEVER seen one! The only ones I've seen are in reference books.

    Your facts are correct. They are a ground birds and they do enjoy a good dust bath. They were frightened away by something, so they weren't long in our yard, but it was a real thrill!

    I am an novice ornithologist, but am learning more each day. What is your favorite kind of bird?

    @ Sydney,
    My husband and I were so surprised to find those quail in our backyard. Actually, we heard their call first. IF YOU GOo to the Cornell Ornithology link I put in the post and listen to their call, you'll see why we were curious. We didn't know what the sound was, but it sure got our attention. You asked if it was scary. No, it was quite lovely.

    I wish they would have stayed longer, but something startled them and they flew away.


    Who knows what it is called when they dart away in a flock after being startled?

    Thanks for some great facts!

    Your amateur ornithologist,
    Mrs. Yollis

  5. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    the quails in your garden look very interesting. I have never seen a quail in a garden before especially on a fountain!!! In Australia we have quails too. Some live in rainforest and are called stubble quails. The rest of them live in swamps and they are very tiny and they are a brownish colour
    cheep cheep Bianca.

  6. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    I have never seen a bird like that before. I found it to be alot larger than the quails here in Australia. My favourite bird is a Parrot. The Parrot is a very pretty bird to look at with all the pretty colours. We dont see many Parrots here where I live. Yours sincerely Kayla (Bianca's cousin)

  7. @ Mrs Yollis,
    My favorite bird is the Blue Wren as it is a very little bird which is 14cm long and thats including the tail. The adult male has a blue head and tail. However the female is very dull looking been a brownish colour.
    Their tails always stick up. They tend to hop than walk. Its nest is very small and they mainly eat small insects. They do not fly very well and tend to stay together in family groups. I really have not seem any where I live but have seen them about on my parents farm. All the best for down under AA.

  8. Hello Mrs Yollis and Class,

    I found it interesting to see what your state bird looks like and that you don't usually see them in the wild.

    The official bird of the state I live in (Western Australia) is the Black Swan and we see them fairly often on our rivers or estuaries. Here's a link, if you'd like to see what they look like:

    Love Mrs N

  9. @ Bianca,
    Thanks for such an informative comment! My students were interested in looking up the stubble quails you mentioned. Peep! Peep!

    @ Kayla, (Bianca's cousin)

    We like parrots too! In fact, if you look in our archive under Nature of Wildworks Assembly, you will see a parrot!

    Cheep! Cheep!

    @ AA,

    Wrens are very pretty birds. We have many in our yard. I'm not sure if they are blue wrens...I'll have to get my field guide out!

    My favorite bird is the pelican! We see them diving out at the beach when we go. They are excellent fishers!

    @ The Smarties,

    Thanks for an outstanding comment! We took a look at your state bird, the black swan. Everyone was very interested in their S-shaped neck! We rarely see swans around our region.

    We are going to add your link to the post. Maybe we can find out more about our readers state birds! You started something good! :-)

    Mrs. Yollis

  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Oh my! That is so funny that you saw a California quail in your backyard. How could it be that we talked about it just a couple days ago and then they chose to come to your backyard? The quails were truly beautiful. Do you think they will come back again?


  11. @ Bianca,

    Thank you so much for a wonderful comment! I was so surprised to see that male quail (Hey, that rhymes!) on my fountain! You should have heard their calls. Very unusual! Click on the link to the Cornell Ornithology Lab and have a listen!

    My students were interested in the stubble quail you mentioned. We'll look that up.
    Peep! Peep!

    @ Kayla, (Bianca's cousin)

    Welcome to our blog! I like parrots as well. If you go to our archive and look up Nature of Wildworks, you'll see a parrot!

    Cheep Cheep!

    @ AA,

    I like the wrens very much. We have those in our backyard quite often. I'm not sure if I have a blue wren. I'll have to get out the field guide.

    @ The Smarties (from Western Australia),

    Thanks for a fantastic comment. We followed your link to your state bird, the black swan. Everyone really loved the S-shaped neck of the bird. We added your idea to the bottom of our post! Did you see?

    Are black swans skittish around people?

    Mrs. Yollis

  12. @ Gal,

    I couldn't believe it either. You're right, we were just talking about California quail and were looking at a great photograph of one in a book and then...there they are in my own backyard!

    Did you go to the Cornell Ornithology Lab link and listen to their call? It is really interesting. That's what caught our attention first.

    I hope they come back! We've been looking, but no return yet...

    Mrs. Yollis

  13. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    I am amazed that you found a quail.
    I really liked the facts and pictures.

    Oh and this is Shelly if you are asking.

    I'm at again.

    Your's truly,

  14. @ Shelly,

    Welcome to our class blog! How is the weather in Denver, Colorado? Your state is such a beautiful place. It is one of the states in the Four Corners region. Have you ever been there?

    We're curious...what is the state bird of Colorado? Let us know!

    Mrs. Yollis

  15. Dear Mrs. Yollis and students,

    I just saw a covey of quails on a walk at Folsom Lake. They are very beautiful!

    Where is Folsom Lake? Maybe you can find it on a map. Maybe Mrs. Yollis knows, since it is a few hours from where she went to college :)

    Mrs. Yollis' College Roomate

  16. @ Mrs. Yollis' college roommate,

    What a happy surprise for me! I love that you left a fun comment! (My smile is a mile wide!)

    Can you believe I have NEVER seen a California quail before?

    You mentioned that you saw one on your walk. Was that the first time you'd ever seen one? Also, how many birds were in the covey?

    Talk to you soon!
    Mrs. Yollis

  17. Mr Yollis - I had no idea about the official bird of Califorina so I thought that it was great. I think its important as a teacher to always learn something new, so that's my new fact for the week! We don't have a state bird in New Zealand, but we have a national bird, which is the flightless Kiwi, which is also the nickname for someone from New Zealand.
    Mr Webb, Room 8, Melville Intermediate School, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand.

  18. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Hi, this is Shelly and I just wanted to answer to you that our state bird is a Lark Bunting that you had asked about,
    if you need anything please feel free to come to my blog at
    Thanks Again, Bye!

    Yours Truly,

  19. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    Our weather here in Denver, CO
    is very nice this season yesterday it was very sunny (hot) and cloudy too, but there was quite some wind; blowing dust during school and so today was sunny and cloudy the same though no wind.

    That's all, See You Later!

    Your Friend,

  20. Dear Mrs Yollis,

    Thankyou for the comment on our blog. In answer to your question, Black Swans are skittish if you get too close, but I remember feeding them with bread when I was a little girl, so you can get quite close to them sometimes. They are really beautiful birds, especially when they are flying.

    Love Mrs N

  21. Dear Mrs. Yollis' class,

    I am turning eighty on Sunday and have lived in California half of my life. I have NEVER seen a California quail! I've seen quail in Montana, where I used to live, but they were more brown.

    I was born in North Dakota and the state bird is the western meadowlark. Hearing them sing when I was little is a memory of mine. The meadowlark used to sit on the fence near our house and they would sing their beautiful song.

    Here is a link to some information about the
    western meadowlark (Mrs. Yollis helped me with the HTML link.)

    Keep up the good work!

    Mrs. Pfau
    (Mrs. Yollis' proud mother)

  22. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I think you are lucky to have seen the state bird up close. I live in New York and our state bird is the blue bird. I have seen the blue bird only a few times. It is very pretty and blue. :-)

    Lauren (Ben's aunt)

  23. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    The California Quails are so pretty. Do you think that they really liked it in your backyard? My daughter told me about the painting of them on the miral.
    I think it was funny that the parent Quail was with her babies. Great post.

    (Gal's mom)

  24. Hi Mrs.Yollis. The quails look really cool. I have never seen a quail in my life.


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