So, we've been here a little over a week--the second night here our dog flushed the quail off the nest...that's how I discovered her: Gambol Quail, a type who live in the Sonoran desert, similar to California but with slightly different coloring...this one is a female:
After that night I've let the dog out the front door...a couple of days later I was worried that we had kept her from sitting on the eggs so I crept up to the corner of the yard to check--off she went in a flash of angry feathers. Two days later I was sure she had abandoned the nest so...same scenario. Today I was POSITIVE she had abandoned the nest since I have seen no movement for at least two days...this time she took off and acted like she was hurt to draw me away, but I heard a peeping sound and realized that despite my interference she had managed to hatch at least one egg...an hour or so later I was talking on my cell telling a friend how we had gophers in the yard, in fact I could see one right now--but a moment later I realized it was a baby bird being roasted in the sun! He must have been thrown out of the nest after I disrupted her...he had some feathers already but he was very weak. I quickly ran over and grabbed him up, scaring her off the nest once again to replace him...don't know if I put him exactly in the nest but I hope she was able to gather him under her to keep him cool--since I figure that's part of what she's doing in this heat.
Meanwhile the male has been patrolling. I've named him Maurice since he seems french somehow...he walks the perimeter checking for unsavory characters but really the only danger at this point is me!
From this point forward I'm letting nature take its course...babies will survive or they won't but I must try and ignore the situation for everyone's good. Can I say how hard this is for me?
I'll keep you posted...