American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 46

BOBWHITE (Colinus virginianus virginianus). Better known perhaps as "Quail " or, in the south, as "Virginia Partridge," these are favorite game birds throughout the region they inhabit, which includes from Maine, Ontario, and North Dakota south to the Gulf States. In the northern portions of their range, particularly in New England, they have become very scarce through excessive hunting and unfavorable weather during nesting seasons. Although but 10 in. in length, they have short plump bodies that are much larger than those of most other birds of their dimensions. As shown, the plumage of the sexes is very similar except that the male has a pure white throat and line above the eye, while on the female these regions are buffy.

     During fall and winter, flocks of six to twenty individuals may be found in brush-covered or stubble land. They squat motionless upon the approach of anyone and remain so until almost trod upon, when they rise with a sudden rush and whir and scatter in all directions. As their line of flight is direct and in open ground, they are very easy to shoot. Besides, the sportsman has his dogs to point to their places of concealment, so he does not even have the startling effect produced by an unexpected rising to contend with. Only their great productivity can withstand the pace the gunners set them, and even that does not avail in many sections.

     Early in spring the males select their mate or mates - for they are inclined to be polygamous - after short but exciting battles with others and spread out over the country, each pair selecting a suitable spot in tall grass bordering fields, along walls or fences, in which the ten to sixteen pure white eggs will be laid.

     During spring and summer the males repeatedly call to one another with t heir clearly whist led bob-white or bob, bob-white. In fall and winter they have a shorter call to gather scattered flocks, consisting of a repeated, soft quoit, quoit, etc.


FLORIDA BOBWHITE is a local race found in that state, very much darker colored than the ordinary birds.