Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quail in My Bed

By Burley Packwood

The true story of three tiny quail chicks who accidentally entered the lives of Packwood and his wife Betsi.
A few days before they were scheduled to leave on an extended camping trip, Betsi found an abandoned baby quail. She named the quail Pedro and assured her husband that the chick would not interfere with the trip. Amazingly, a few days later, she found another chick, this time wandering the aisles of a store. This one she named Pedra.
So both chicks came with them on the camping trip, coddled and cuddled by Betsi. Packwood hardened his heart against the quail but gradually came to admit that they added a lot to the trip, being entertaining little birds.
Unfortunately, Pedro managed to escape and they never found him. Native to the desert southwest, Pedro got loose in the northern United States into a habitat ill-suited to his breed, the Gambels quail. He most certainly perished when winter arrived.
Pedra remained with them on their trip although they promised to free her when they returned home to Arizona. Meanwhile, she wormed her way into the author's affections and he came to cherish the little bird as she did him, regarding him as the love of her life.
Upon returning home, they gave Pedra her freedom but she refused to go. She stayed with them, sleeping inside and have free range in their house. She also had free access to the outdoors and she spent a lot of time out there but never strayed away from their patio area.
She had quite a few ailments, possibly a result of her domesticated lifestyle. She nearly died of a lung ailment, and, on the road to recovery, was bitten by a poisonous spider. Her recovery from that and a subsequent fall was slow and painful but she eventually pulled through.
Betsi soon found another lost quail chick and Pablito joined Pedra. Pablito was a ball of fire compared to Pedra and his antics kept the two people very well entertained. Pedra pretty much ignored the new addition except when the chick tried to nestle under her feathers. Pedra refused to adopt the little orphan and usually gave him a good pecking for his efforts.
Even though he totally opposed the addition of quail to his home, the author soon came to realize that their life was much richer for the presence of the little birds.

I thoroughly enjoy this story of raising young orphan quail. I personally have never seen a wild quail where I live, but from what the author says, they must be quite common in Arizona. From this book and the previous quail book I recently read, That Quail, Robert, quail sound like very interesting and amusing little birds. Although I don't suppose the author is promoting the adoption of wild quail as pets.

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