|THROUGHOUT Northwestern Mexico and
the border of the Unites Sates, from Western Texas to New
Mexico and Southern Arizona, this handsome Partridge,
called the Blue Quail, is found in abundance, especially
on the dry mesas of the San Pedro slope of the Santa
Catalina Mountains, up to an altitude of three thousand
five hundred feet. In Arizona they are found in flocks of
from six to ten, sometimes more, in the most barren
places, miles away from water.
The Blue Quail, like all the other western and southwestern species, prefers to trust to safety to its powers of running, rather than those of flight.
great trouble is to start them from the ground.
A slight depression under a bush serves for the nest of this bird, which is generally lined with a few coarse grasses. Complete sets of eggs have been found as early as April 25. The eggs are extremely thick-shelled, of a buffy-white or cream color. The number laid ranges from eight to sixteen.
The habits of this Quail do not differ greatly from those of Bob White, though they have not been fully studied, and the species is of less extensive distribution.
|There are some peculiar birds in the world, and one of the strangest is the Australian Megapod, or Mound bird, that allows nature to perform the labor of hatching its eggs. In some parts of the island continent are found many mounds of considerable size and height, which the first explorers took for burial mounds. These were made by the Megapodius Tumulus, which uses them for hatching its eggs. They have sometimes considerable dimensions. A nest that is 14 feet high and 55 feet in circumference may be regarded as large. Each Megapod builds its own nest with materials which it gathers from all sides, and these are exactly what the gardener uses in the month of March to make his forcing beds -- namely, leaves and decomposing vegetable matter, which by their fermentation give off an appreciable amount of heat.||In
the forcing beds this heat hastens the sprouting of the
seeds; in the nest it suffices for the development and
hatching of the young birds, and the mother can go where
she likes and occupy herself as she wishes without being
troubled by the duties of sitting. In the small islands
of Ninafou, in the Pacific, another bird has a somewhat
similar habit, in so far as it also abandons its eggs,
but in place of obtaining the necessary heat from
fermentation it gets it from the warm sand. The Leipoa or
native Pheasant of Australia acts like the Megapod and
watches the temperature of its mound very closely,
covering and uncovering the eggs several times a day to
cool them or heat them, as becomes necessary. After
hatching, the young bird remains in the mound several
hours; it leaves on the second day, but returns for the
night, and not until the third day is it able to leave
for good the paternal abode. -- American Field.