The California or Valley Quail (Callipepla californica) are out and about, always a welcomed sight in spring. Very soon the roving coveys will include a line of chicks.
Quail are a common sight, often seen even in the downtown neighborhoods of Reno, Sparks and Carson City, although, since they are ground dwellers, they are vulnerable to fast moving autos, garden poisons and prowling house cats.
A signature pastime for Quail is the dust bath. The covey searches out a nice sunny spot of bare dirt where they belly down, twitch, wiggle, flap their wings and fluff their feathers. It's quite a sight to see. Giving Quail a space for this ritual is just one more reason not to have traditional grass lawns in the desert. Provide some shrubby landscaping and a nice sunny patch of soft bare dirt and you just might get them to visit.
According to Desert USA, the origin of the latin name, Callipepla, means "beautiful robe" which is certainly the case with our Valley Quail. We are lucky to have them as our neighbors.