A Nostalgic Sound

On my visit to Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area this morning, the refuge seemed a bit subdued; while thunderstorms rumbled to its south, the floodplain preserve received but a few passing showers.  Beneath the low, gray overcast, the birds carried on with their morning routines but were relatively quiet, especially for early May.  A significant exception was the calling of northern bobwhites, apparently proclaiming their territorial rights.

During my pre-teen years, when I lived in the northeastern suburbs of Cincinnati, my friends and I spent much of our time exploring the nearby fields and woodlands (see Wonderland).  On those excursions, I became very familiar with the call of the bobwhite and we would occasionally flush those eastern quail as we tramped across abandoned farmlands.

Now, almost 60 years later, that sound is not nearly as common in the Central and Eastern U.S. since agriculture and suburban "development" have destroyed much of the quail habitat.  Nevertheless, their distinctive call has a nostalgic ring, taking me back to those carefree days of tree forts and outdoor adventure.