Last week I participated in a fauna survey. The target species were mammals and
reptiles, but to our surprise we also found a mother Little Button-quail and
her two chicks in one of the traps.
We released them as soon as possible by placing all three birds under a dense
spinfex clump away from the trapline. The intention was to allow them to hide
away under the vegetation, and feel safe again. However, after a few seconds
the mother took flight and left her two chicks behind. We decided to leave them
be and hoped the mother would return after we had left the site completely,
which we did as fast as we could.
When I studied fairy penguins I regularly found adults and chicks in a nest.
After measuring and weighing the chicks the adult birds often had the tendency
to flee to sea and leave the chicks unattended. To prevent this from happening,
I placed the adult back in the burrow and held the entrance closed until the
adult started growling at me, indicating that its mood had changed from fleeing
to standing its ground. I then could safely walk away and the bird would stay
inside the burrow. I'm hoping somone can recommend me a similarly effective
method to release quails.
Does anyone have experience releasing parents and offspring of ground-dwelling
birds, especially quails?
Is there a recommended method to allow the parent bird to calm down enough to
WALK away from the scene rather than fly, so that the chicks can follow her?
Is there evidence that the adult will indeed return to look for its chicks when
the disturbing scientists have left the scene (very unlikely to get an answer
to this one, I know).
With quails: Is there evidence that chicks, once touched by human hands, are
abandoned by the parents, as is the case with some species of deer?
Thank you very much!
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