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Gamble's Quail

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Gamble's Quail are gregarious birds of the desert Southwest, where coveys gather along brushy washes and cactus-studded arroyos to feed. Males and females both sport a bobbing black topknot of feathers. The male’s prominent black belly patch distinguishes it from the similar California Quail. This ground-hugging desert dweller would rather run than fly—look for these tubby birds running between cover or posting a lookout on low shrubs. Gamble's Quail are ground-feeding desert birds—so they are likely to visit yards that offer birdseed and water at ground level. They sometimes also come up to elevated platform feeders. You can attract them with sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, and milo. Gamble's Quail are part of the “scaled quail” complex, which also includes California Quail, Scaled Quail, and the Elegant Quail of northwest Mexico. The species hybridize in captivity and in the wild; you can find Gamble's x California Quail hybrids where their ranges overlap in southeast California. Like many desert-dwelling species, Gamble's Quail populations undergo a “boom-and-bust” cycle. A year with ample winter-spring rainfall that generates lots of green vegetation will yield larger clutches and an abundance of chicks. Dry winters mean less food and lower productivity. Just before her eggs hatch, the female Gamble's Quail calls to the chicks, who cheep to each other from inside the eggs. The eggs hatch in synchrony, with the chick cutting a neat hole in the largest part of the shell and leaving an intact piece of membrane to serve as a “hinge” — the chick pushes on the shell and opens the “door” that it has created. This instinct is duplicated in the incubator where it seems all the chicks simultaneously hatch at the same time in 23-24 days with very few, if any “late hatchers” Eggs are uniform in size and shape, a light cream color with light brown specks to help them blend into the nest. They are a favorite food of the Gila Monster, the only venomous lizard in North America. Chicks are lively and quick! And their flight feathers develop quite rapidly so a covered brooder is a must. Our Phil’s Best Starter Brooder is a great way to give these little guys a good head start while keeping them safe and secure.

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 Egg orders are filled in the order in which they are received,

shipping Sundays thru Thursdays.

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