A Summer Story
Of all the many types of birds that live in or pass through our yard, I’m particularly fond of watching the quail. They’ve raised quite a few broods beneath the protection of acacias and mesquites, chollas and prickly pears, and the more ephemeral low-growing plants that fade this time of year.
A Commotion of Quail
Where the springtime weeds are drying–
Scarcely leave a shadow lying–
Stem by stem’s a tiny forest.
From within I hear a chorus;
Sudden out the scanty shelter
Here you tumble, helter-skelter:
Mama, all the chicks in tandem
Hurry, patter on at random;
And behind, more slow and stately,
Papa pauses, looks sedately
Where the ground is bare, to scan it,
Why was there a little panic?
Mama gets her brood in, hustling
Each to follow her and justling
Just into the next patch over
Where the brush again makes cover.
And behind, his dark crest curling
Feathers in a bright unfurling,
Papa brings the rear up neatly.
Chat subsides as each chick sweetly
Dodges in where wild tobacco
Makes green cover. At the back–Oh!
There is Papa comes a-flutter,
Wings outspread! A final mutter
Comes when no one might espy it,
Then as sudden, all is quiet.
scuttle over gravel
at a whisper
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