Clyde, leave the baby quail alone

Oh, how we love to see the quail birds - especially this time of the year when the babies are all over the place. I should put a bumper sticker on my car that says, "I brake for quail." I'd have to put another sign saying, "and bunnies too," as those tiny cottontail bunnies are so cute.

You can't drive through Fish Springs without a covey of quail darting across the road in front of you. But luckily, there appears to be hardly any road-killed birds on our neighborhood roads. But I'm saddened to say that some new baby quail aren't as safe in our own backyard.

It's Clyde's fault. I put a bell around his neck to warn the birds that he's out prowling but somehow he wiggled out of it. We've been feeding him extra food ever since we saw gray feathers in his mouth earlier this month. He's an outside cat but he sleeps in the garage at night so the coyotes don't eat him. We put him in the garage when we saw him bothering the birds but it was too hot in there.

Just the other day we heard mama quail sound her distress call alongside of a large, thick juniper bush. That's when I saw our cat trying to crawl under the bush. We didn't hear any peeping like the baby quail birds do, but suddenly we saw Clyde come running out of the brush with a little quail in his mouth. He walked right up to my husband and dropped the little bird in front of Norbert and waited for some sort of praise. The bird was very still and I thought it was dead, especially when the cat tossed it up in the air and it still was unresponsive. My husband picked up the little bird and, lo and behold, it started to move. Norbert quickly put it into the deepest part of the thick juniper bush. It was alive.

We were able to snatch the bird away from Clyde. You know, we like it when the cat keeps the mice and snakes out of our yard; we even praise him and pet him, but we sure don't want him eating the beautiful little birds. I don't know, maybe that's not fair play in the animal world.

New recruits: Last Saturday's "Open House" at the Fish Springs fire station just might have lured two new volunteer firefighters to our all-volunteer fire department. That would be wonderful. Perhaps all the recent lightning strikes that resulted in some wildland fires also encouraged new recruits to join our Fish Springs VFD. We don't want our beautiful Pine Nut Mountains to be burned up. We are very lucky to live so close to this spectacular mountain range and we want to keep it forever beautiful.

n Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.


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