The fetching little bird in the photo is a Northern Bobwhite, Colinus virginianus. I was leaving the house early to walk with my neighbor, and I heard a “different” bird call. This is the time of year when birds begin migrating through, so you never know what you’re going to see or hear. I keep my eyes and ears open.
When we returned from our walk, the bird was still calling. We stood under a pine tree and listened. and then all of a sudden, there it was, standing just a few feet away on a neighbor’s stone wall. I ran back into the house to get my camera certain that the “law of disappearing fauna” would apply as soon as I wanted to take a photo, but when I went back, there it was! I was able to snap away at very close range, still not knowing what species I was photographing. It continued to call sporadically, but it also made chicken-like clucking sounds.
When I started researching using my photos, it was obvious that this was a Northern Bobwhite, a bird I have never seen or heard before. Apparently they used to be quite common in our neighborhood, but are rarely seen these days.
The Northern Bobwhite is a New World quail, native to the eastern U.S. and Mexico. Apparently hunters love to shoot them – although I can’t see what fun it would be to shoot something this cute out of the sky.
Bobwhites eat plants, snails and small insects. They like to hang out in fields, grasslands – and our back yard. Maybe this one was attracted by the neighbor’s wildflower meadow. I hope it stays a while longer.