May 31, 2012

Baby Quail Rescued

Today, WildRescue was transferred an emergency call from San Jose Animal Control. A resident near Almaden Quicksilver County Park had witnessed 7 newly-hatched quail fall through a storm drain inlet the day before. Unfortunately, they had remained trapped overnight, and may have gotten cold.

Newly hatched gamebirds, wading birds, and dabbling ducks are especially vulnerable to hypothermia. Without warmth from their mothers or a supplemental source of heat, chicks will get cold. Once chilled they do not fare well.

Duane and Rebecca responded to the call. Enroute, they alerted the San Jose Department of Transportation and received permission to remove the grates and manhole covers as needed.

When they arrived, two adult quail, a male and female, were standing guard near the drain inlet. They flew off when the rescuers approached.

Duane pulled away the heavy metal grate where the babies had fallen. There, inside the relatively small but deep (especially for a baby quail) catch basin, were all 7 chicks. One was near dead, another appeared weak, but the rest looked good, despite being trapped overnight.

All of a sudden, warning clucks from an adult quail emanated from deep inside the drain! Their mother had evidently stayed with them, and this is probably why they survived the night.

Her warning call sent the chicks scattering. Rebecca was able to block the pipe, but not before a few escaped.

To 'push' the adult and the rest of the babies back up into the catch basin, Duane removed the manhole cover from the connecting drain and began clapping his hands. This drove out the adult, and with her, a few more chicks.

Two little ones remained. It took some patience, but finally all of the chicks were collected.

On a sad note, 2 of the 7 did not survive, but 5 were returned to their awaiting parents. Check out the video below.

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