Quail  LbNA # 36841 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateNov 22 2007
CountySalt Lake
LocationSalt Lake City, UT
Planted ByThe Oncoming Storm    
Found By Killer Bunnies
Last Found Feb 28 2009
Hike Distance?

The California Quail, Callipepla californica, also known as the California Valley Quail or Valley Quail, is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family. It is the state bird of California, but it is often seen in most of western North America.

These birds have a curving crest or "plume" that droops forward - black in males and brown for females; the flanks are brown with white streaks. Males have a dark brown cap and a black face with a brown back, a grey-blue chest and a light brown belly. Females and immature birds are mainly grey-brown with a light-colored belly. Their closest relative is Gambel's Quail which has a more southernly distribution and a scalier appearance.

The California Quail is a highly sociable bird that often gathers in small flocks known as "coveys", and one of the daily communal activities is the taking of dust baths. A family of quail will select an area where the ground has been newly turned or is soft, and using their underbellies, will burrow downward into the soil some 1-2 inches. They then wriggle about in the indentations they have created, flapping their wings and ruffling their feathers, causing dust to rise in the air. They seem to prefer sunny places in which to create these dust baths, and an ornithologist is able to detect the presence of quail in an area by spotting the circular indentations left behind in the soft dirt, some 7-15 cm (3-6 in.) in diameter.

They are year-round residents. Although this bird coexists well at the edges of urban areas, it is declining in some areas as human populations increase. They were originally found mainly in the southwestern United States but they have been introduced into other areas including British Columbia, Hawaii, Chile, New Zealand, and to Norfolk Island and King Island in Australia.

These birds forage on the ground, often scratching at the soil. They can sometimes be seen feeding at the sides of roads. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and leaves, but they also eat some berries and insects. If startled, these birds explode into short fast flight. Given a choice, they will normally make their escape on foot.

Their breeding habitat is shrubby areas and open woodlands in western North America. The nest is a shallow scrape lined with vegetation located on the ground under a shrub or other cover. The female usually lays around 12 eggs. Once they are hatched, both parents look after the young. (info from Wikipedia.com)

Though I am now a Coloradoan, these birds were always around when I lived with my parents on Fortuna Way. We placed this letterbox as a tribute to them and their cute selves.

From the North, Take I-80 to I-215 to exit 5 (4500 S) and turn left to head up the hill. Go through Wasatch Drive and continue up the road until you reach the first stop sign that stops you (about three streets up). This is Fortuna Way. Turn right and drive to the little park on your right at about 4630 S. Fortuna Way. Park along the road.

From the South, Take the I-215 East beltloop to exit 4 (3900 S). Turn right onto Wasatch drive and turn left at the light at 4500 S. Travel up the hill until you reach the first stop sign that stops you (about three streets up). This is Fortuna Way. Turn right and drive to the little park on your right at about 4630 S. Fortuna Way. Park along the road.

Play on the playground or eat a picnic lunch and enjoy the view. When you are ready to find the box head west down to the stairs. Go down the first set of stairs and walk down the second set of steps 12 steps. From this twelfth step look to your left (south) and find the large elm tree. It's the big one with the large trunk. At the base of the tree on the uphill side you'll find the box under a pile of rocks.

Rehide and repackage the box well and look out for other park goers. Please also be mindful that this area is not maintained (shoveled) in the winter, so the stairs may be covered with snow or ice and thus, very slippery. The trees and shrubs around this area are often covered with spines and thorns, so be careful (roses and Russian olives abound)! This is perfect quail habitat!

Hand made stamp and hand made log book. No ink! Bring your own (preferably brown, gray and black ink for the neatest look)!