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Patient of the Week: 05/24/24

Gambel’s Quail

Did you know that Gambel’s quail chicks are considered precocial … meaning they can move around without their parents’ assistance immediately after hatching? They typically follow in line behind their parents as they search for food and a safe place to rest. By the time they are 11 days old, most chicks can fly short distances, which helps them escape predators when necessary.

Currently, the wildlife care team at Tucson Wildlife Center’s Baby Bird and Small Mammal Wing is caring for over 60 orphaned Gambel’s quail chicks. The video shows a group of very active young chicks. This high level of activity is crucial for their growth and for development of essential survival skills, such as evading predators. By the time they are adults, these quail will run at a speed of 15 mph for short distances.

When chicks that are just a few days old arrive at the Center, they are placed in small groups of chicks approximately the same age and weight (usually around 6-7 grams at birth). Heat lamps are used for warmth and a feather duster is hung in each enclosure to simulate their mother. The chicks run under it just as they would run to mom for safety and warmth. When the chicks weigh between 30-40 grams, they are moved in a group to one of our outdoor aviaries where they can adjust to Tucson’s heat and develop crucial skills for their survival in the wild, including foraging for food, flying, and interacting socially with other quail. Once ready, these Gambel’s quail will be released together back into the wild.

TWC would like to remind residents that occasionally quail may choose to nest in locations close to your house, like in a patio flowerpot. Get hatchlings to the ground if they are in a deep flowerpot or high in the air where they can’t safely jump out. Mom or dad usually appear to lead them away. Stay away! If one or more appear weak or stumbling, call TWC immediately to get them help.

If you would like to help patients like these Gambel’s quail chicks, click the button below.

Another way you can contribute is to visit our “wish list” on Amazon by clicking on the Amazon Wish List button below. We appreciate it, as will all the wild animals in our care!

Click on the picture below to watch a video and be sure to turn on the sound.

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