|I'm a game bird, not a song bird
with beautiful feathers, flitting all day from tree to
tree, but just a plain-looking little body, dressed in
sober colors, like a Quaker.
It wouldn't do for me to wear a red hat, and a green coat, and a yellow vest. Oh, no! that would be very foolish of me, indeed. What a mark I would be for every man and boy who can fire a gun or throw a stone, as I run along the ground in clearings and cultivated fields. That's the reason I wear so plain a coat. At the first glance you would take me for a bunch of dried grass or a bit of earth, but at the first movement, off I go, running for dear life to some thickly wooded cover, where I hid till danger is passed.
Cute! Yes, I think so. You would have to be sharp, too, if you were a game-bird. Through the summer we don't have much trouble, but just as soon as cold weather sets in, and our broods have grown to an eatable size, "pop" go the guns, and "whirr" go our wings as we fly through the air. It is only at such times we take wing, sometimes seeking refuge in a tree from our enemies.
|I'm sorry we
are such nice birds
-- to eat -- for really we like to stay around
farm-houses and barn-yards, eating with the chickens and
other fowl. We are easily tamed, and the farmers often
thank us for the injurious insects we eat, and the seeds
of weeds. How do we know they thank us? Why, we must know
that, when they scatter seed for us on the snow. Kind
deeds speak louder than words, for in the winter we
suffer a great deal. Sometimes when it is very cold we
burrow down under the snow, in snow-houses, as it were,
to keep warm. That is risky, though; for when it rains
and then freezes over, we are in a trap. A great many
Quail die in this way during a hard winter.
Is Quail another name for Bob White? Yes, but people like Bob White better. Did you ever hear me whistle? If not, come out in the country in the spring, and hear me call to my mate. I sit on a fence rail, and, to let her know where I am, I whistle, Bob White! Bob White! and if she pretends to be bashful, and doesn't answer me at once, I whistle again, Bob, Bob White! POOR Bob White! She takes pity on me then, and comes at my call.