Saving a Quail

Jack Goblin By Jack Goblin, 8th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

Gardening requires the gardener to fulfill a multitude of roles. Sometimes that includes getting wildlife out of ridiculous situations they've gotten themselves into.

Being given, the BIRD!

I had gone out into my garden in the evening to set the sprinklers so I could water early the next morning before it got too hot. While doing so, I noticed an odd object hanging from the nylon protective netting surrounding my strawberry patch. I got closer... and realized it was a rather large quail who had one leg entangled in the netting and was hanging head down, unable to get loose.

There are a lot of wild quail in my area; I see flocks of them running or flying about frequently. They like to go through my garden eating the bugs there. This one had apparently landed on or flown into the netting I had set up like a wall around the strawberries to keep the deer - which there are ALSO a lot of, in my area - from eating them. And somehow, gotten stuck about four feet up.

A Fine Mess you've Gotten Us Into

"Well, this is something you don't see every day," I commented to myself and the bird, who was watching me like a hawk. Or at least like a quail hanging upside down in a strawberry patch wondering what was going to happen next and if he was heading for a stew pot.

What was going to happen next was rather puzzling me, too. I got closer to see how it was entangled... and it began flopping around frantically trying to get away. I stood there until it calmed down a bit, then moved forward again. The bird again began flapping hard trying to get airborne, but since it was pointed head down that didn't work too well. A few seconds of desperate activity and it ran out of energy and stopped moving. I didn't know how long it had been stuck, hanging in the hot sun, but apparently long enough that it couldn't struggle much.

I took another step... and managed to get hold of the part of the net the bird was hanging from and bring it close enough so I could get a good look at the tangled mess. The quail, at this point, decided it was all over and went limp.

Examination showed the bird's claws were caught in the net and twisted strands were wrapped around the talon like ropes; but the leg didn't look broken, and the skin wasn't cut from the nylon. All that was very much to the good. Pulling out my Leatherman I began cutting the strands of the net and pulling them way. The bird, fortunately, continued to play dead and I didn't have to deal with a struggling creature shifting position just as I was trying to make a cut. I had to be careful to make sure that when I cut or pulled a strand away it wasn't wrapped around the talon somewhere else and causing damage. But slowly, probably more by luck than skill, I managed to untangle this avian Gordian knot, and finally the bird came loose!

And promptly dropped like a rock, falling two feet onto a thick stand of strawberry plants. Which cushioned the landing, and probably provided a pleasant aroma in the process.

No Harm, No Fowl.

The bird didn't immediately leap up and take off. No, in fact, it didn't move at all. It was in shock, or determined to keep playing dead, or too tired, or perhaps all three. I checked the talon and leg and picked off a few final strands of net wrapped around one claw, but aside from that everything looked good. The quail - if I'd have been thinking I'd have named him "Dan" but that only occurred to me later - seemed unhurt, but he was breathing fast and laying head down, butt up in a bunch of strawberry leaves. I don't deal much with wild birds, but I believe it's best not to handle them too much, and to let them move at their own pace. So I rolled the netting back so there was nothing between the quail and freedom, then went off to do other things on the other side of my house, far out of the bird's sight.

I came back twenty minutes later and it was still there. Its tail feathers shook a bit when I walked up, so I knew it was still alive: but was it hurt? It might have stressed itself with all its flailings. Or it might be dehydrated or overheated from being stuck in the sun. Or it might just have decided it wasn't moving until it was sure I wasn't around. I thought about what to do. The sprinkler I had set up for the morning's watering was only a few feet away. If the quail WERE overheated or dehydrated, a brief shower might be a life-saver. And if it were all right but not moving, getting wet could be an incentive to change that.

So I walked about a dozen yards over to the spigot, turned it on, watched as the sprinkler sputtered to life and began spraying... and a few seconds later saw a quail explode out of the patch and run off down the path on two good legs, shaking its feathers to get the water off them and with what might have been a disgusted and confused expression on his face. I turned off the sprinkler and watched him disappear behind some shrubs.

I imagine HE'LL have a story to tell the rest of the flock when he catches up with them!

Media Source: Wikimedia Commons


Bird, Gardening, Humor, Netting, Quail, Wildlife

Meet the author

author avatar Jack Goblin
Was born. Haven't died yet. Don't intend to anytime soon.

Thank you much for reading my articles. I hope they brought you pleasure and enlightenment. :)

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Oct 2014 (#)

Interesting post and very inspired at the moment it was created, a true masterpiece of writing!

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
26th Nov 2014 (#)

Jack, I loved this post. You are truly a kind person to help save a bird. I like your sense of humor. Congratulations on being author of the day.

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