Tortoise Among Us!

We’ve been talking about adopting a desert tortoise for some time. Todd’s Backyard would be the perfect home for one (there actually may be some here, but we’ve never seen them). We would also love the opportunity to expand the variety of natural desert dwellers. As fate would have it, we got our wish last night!

After a botched attempt to meet up with friends for some Saturday night socializing…(we got lost in Tucson trying to find the party…aaggrrhhh), we sadly went back home to spend the evening pouting. Todd decided to go to Arbys to get some dinner. He returned, not with the medium roast beef sandwich I had expected. But, with a rather large tortoise!

Apparently, on the way to Arbys, he found it sitting in the middle of a busy street. Since there wasn’t any natural desert around, Todd decided the best thing to do was bring it home, as it would surely get run over!

So, meet the newest member of the family….

A beautiful, 20 something year old girl (I’m pretty sure) We are thinking about calling Arby! But, we are open to suggestions!

We put her in the ‘potty garden’ (a lush, fenced in area in the backyard) equipped with all the features required desert tortoise digs…Except a burrow- Today, Todd is building one and turning the area into a ‘fairytale’ tortoise habitat for her.

For now, she is busy marching around her new yard, investigating her surroundings.  Hopefully, she will be happy here! The dogs have met her…Cooper is scared of her. Baily and Lulu are like….’whatever’. They gave her a little sniff and went about their business.

It’s going to be a learning experience, and is likely to be tortally cool adventure!

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Great Story No Pictures! Arrrggghhhh!

So, I was on the porch this afternoon, waiting to see if the monsoon clouds were going to unleash something…

Hold on a minute….Now… I need to back up a day….Yesterday afternoon, about the same time, I was sitting in the house. Just out of the corner of my eye, I happened to see a quail bobbing her head up and down on the porch. We don’t get quail on the porch, unless it’s a Whoootooo….If you’re not familiar with the Whootoos, see blog post: A Quail Tale: We rescued and raised a couple of quail last summer and released them into the wild. They continued to come up and visit us on the porch for a few months before they were totally immersed in their new ‘wild’ life.  So…when I saw the quail on the porch, I immediately thought Whoootoooo!!! I went to the sliding glass door, and low and behold, there SHE was- With her brand new family! Hubby and 6 tiny baby fluff balls! Our grandquailage!

So the rest of the afternoon, and all day today, we were watching for them.

Back to this afternoon:

So, I was on the porch this afternoon, waiting to see it the monsoon clouds were going to unleash something, and I spotted them! Whootoo and her little family scurrying across the backyard. But, they abruptly turned back, scurrying the other way then back and forth, back and forth. Stange…I was curious, so I tiptoed out to investigate.

What I found, in the wash, was one of the babies on it’s back, flailing about, unable to recover it’s upright position. It looked like, perhaps, a thrasher, or dirt monkey had tried to nab it and swept it off his feet. As I watched  a moment longer, the family ran off, leaving the little fellow flailing about! (like mother, like daughter, I guess!) Of course, instinct took over and I snatched the little fuzz ball up and ran back to the porch, grandquail in hand!

Donna, my mother-in-law, was readily available to grab a towel, eye dropper full of water and a Miller Lite beer box. I placed the baby in the box (still in hand), under the towel, and got him to take some water. After my heart rate calmed down a little, I sat with the baby in hand, to get his heart rate down. We bonded a little, but I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t  survive by himself. Unlike his mother, when we rescued her, she had 4 siblings with her. Plus, she was plucked out of the wild, the day she was born. This little guy, was all alone, and had enjoyed/endured his wild life for at least one or two days.

We got the little quail settled in a little cage, with food, water and heating pad… But he was frantic! I felt terrible…I thought we bonded!! As I sat there worrying about his fate, I happened to see his family making their way towards the water dish in the backyard.

I quickly plucked the little guy out of the cage and slowly made my way towards the family….”whoootoooo! whooootoooo!” I called out to his mother (that was our call). The family waited under the protection of a clump of cactus. I set their baby down and shooed him in the right direction.

It was an amazing reunion! …Where was the camera!!

But here is last year’s photo….Mother Quail -the ‘Whootoos’ we rescued almost exactly 1 year ago on July 4th!  I do believe our little grandquail looks just like his mom!

A Quail Tale

We rescued 5 abandoned baby quail on July 4th, 2009….the day they were born. Quail aren’t that smart…at least the parents of these babies. They built a nest in a planter where the babies could not get out after they hatched. They do this every year. This year, they got 5 out and left 5 in the nest.

That’s where we stepped in.

We called them the Whootoos-

Their call: ” Woooo Tooooo! Woooo Tooo!”. They quickly adapted to their penned life and started to thrive. Our dogs, Lulu and Baily claimed them as their own. The only way the baby birds would settle down is if Lulu or Baily were in attendance.  Unfortunately, 3 did not make it. Only 2 survived.

We released them in September. This was the first thing that they did…plunked down in the grass and lounged!

They spent many happy hours on the porch with us.

At the end of each day, when the sun started setting, the whootoos would make their way back to the fenced area where we released them.

This is where they roost for the night.

Although, sometimes they would take a little nap on the porch!

As the weather started to cool, the whootoos spent more and more time out with the wild quail in the yard. Eventually, one of them (we had dubbed Hook)  joined a covey and she did not come back to the porch. The other, we called Hootch, still came back to the porch now and then to do a little socializing.

This was the day Hootch came to say farewell.

She sat with us for about an hour, said her goodbyes, and left for the wild. We see Hook and Hootch everyday. They still roost where we released them.  They  both found groups and hopefully mates. We will anxiously wait to see if they have their own babies and possibly bring them by for a visit!

We will also see if there is another batch of babies to rescue from the planter this summer!